DESPITE the possible onset of another recession, the world cannot get enough of Burberry. With its share price up by four per cent after it unveiled its new collection at London Fashion Week yesterday, it is clear that the brand is doing something very, very right.
So what’s its secret? Everyone likes a nice rain-resistant coat, of course. But pretty outerwear alone never made a brand into a global power and its creative director into a retail godhead, worshipped by everyone from Kanye West and Andy Murray to Sienna Miller and Anna Wintour (all in the front rows at this week’s S/S 2012 show in London).
Lauren Stevenson, PR director of Mywardrobe.com, the online fashion shop, says the brand’s success is down to relentless innovation both in terms of fashion and in digital marketing: “Creative Director Christopher Bailey innovates every season but stays true to heritage. The trench coats are always beautiful. But where Burberry really has the edge is in digital. It’s always the first with social media and the internet: Facebook, twitter, viral visuals, music.”
Examples include the campaign two years ago in which Burberry grabbed the trend for street style – started by cult website The Sartorialist – at its pinnacle. Art of the Trench was a forum to which people uploaded pictures of themselves wearing a Burberry trench. And in the last two seasons, Burberry has been livestreaming gigs of various up and coming bands – this is Burberry Acoustics. And Burberry was the first to introduce click-to-buy – so that hours after a show you could purchase what you saw online.
None of this would be possible without the razor sharp eye and intuition of Bailey. His influence is felt everywhere in the brand, on everything from premium luxury line Prorsum to scent and accessories, all of which he brought in-house after a woeful period of licensing, when everyone could buy a bit of check.
Clare Rous, City A.M. columnist and co-founder of fashion members’ boutique Rous Iland, says of the the new collection: “There’s such wonderful heritage detail: lots of crocheting and embroidery. It’s incredibly clever: on one hand Bailey has brought Burberry to the fore of a very digital age, but what the collection evokes is the days when we didn’t have TV and we sit in front of the fire. knitting.”
Above all, to buy Burberry is to buy into a luxurious world of beautiful, artistic youth. Says Stevenson: “Now everything has a sense of luxury whereas before because of licensing it was more disjointed.”