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Men's Fashion / Fashion Equations

Burberry Menswear S/S12

A mathematical guide to the key inspirations and references in designers' collections by Laura Bradley, illustrated by Tom Baxter

Burberry S/S12
Burberry S/S12 Illustrations by Tom Baxter

For spring/summer 2012, Christopher Bailey's menswear collection for Burberry brought to mind the iconic Hovis "boy with the bike" and made use of birds and the evil eye...

Since Christopher Bailey took to the helm of 15-year-old design house Burberry, his men's and women's collections have been peppered with references to British heritage. For spring/summer 2012 menswear, one of the most interesting aspects was a seeming nod to the much-loved Hovis "boy with the bike" from bread company Hovis' evocative television adverts, first released in 1973 and directed by Ridley Scott. The models' hats, executed in raffia, and the knitted jumpers and ankle-skimming tweed trousers, were not unlike the little bobble hat sported by the young bread deliverer.

The nostalgic acknowledgement could also be seen to tie-in with Bailey's personal summarisation of the collection: "a reaction to the digitalisation of modern culture". An interesting proposition, bearing in mind Burberry is leading the way in the digital fashion revolution. There was plenty of focus on the artisan and craft: raffia trim, crochet and beaded collars; details and techniques more commonplace for womenswear design. But their success relied on a strong and chic autumnal colour palette and luxe fabrics not usually associated with the world of craft.

"The evil eye is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike"

Quirky details also came in a plethora of prints, including graphic, felt appliqué birds, the ones you would expect to see on an English country walk. Traditionally, the bird symbolises the soul, intellect and as a symbol of Heaven. And even more frequent, was the use of the evil eye, on jumpers, parkas, shorts and abstracted versions on trousers. The symbol is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike. The term also refers to the power attributed to certain persons of inflicting injury or bad luck by such an envious or ill-wishing look. Historically it has been used on rings, pendants and tree decorations.

Laura Bradley is the commissioning editor of AnOther and published her first series of Fashion Equations in May 2008. Tom Baxter is an illustrator currently living and working in London.

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