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Backstage at Burberry AW16Photography Anabel Navarro

What went down at Burberry’s September 2016 show

A new venue, a new retail model and some new faces – here’s what happened at the brand’s Virginia Woolf-inspired AW16 show

Yesterday saw Burberry’s September show (NB not SS17 show), which marked an important turning point for the British heritage brand. This season was the label’s first ‘See Now, Buy Now’ outing; the first where the full men’s and women’s collections were shown together; and the first in its new Soho venue. Throw in some Virginia Woolf references, some Elizabethan vibes and a stellar model cast and you’ve got one of the most major events of this season’s London Fashion Week. Here’s what went down at the show.

IT WAS STAGED IN A HOUSE IN SOHO

This season, Christopher Bailey chose not to stage the show in Kensington Gardens as he’s done for numerous seasons. Instead, the September show took place at Makers House in Soho, which was decorated with hand-carved statues – including one of Thomas Burberry – a result of their collaboration with The New Craftsmen. Inspired by Nancy Lancaster’s floral interior designs, a bespoke carpet was woven for the maze-like runway and, right at the heart of the venue, was a hidden English sculpture garden. If we’re not painting the picture well enough, see the above Instagram video for a quick virtual tour of the space.

THE BRAND DID ‘SEE NOW, BUY NOW’ FOR THE FIRST TIME

By now you’re probably familiar with the basic tenets of ‘See Now, Buy Now’ – customers can get their hands on the collection as soon as it’s presented on the runway, instead of after a long and increasingly non-sensical six-month wait. In February, Christopher Bailey announced that Burberry would be adopting this model and yesterday’s was its first outing since. Naturally it was all about speed – there was a live service on Facebook Messenger to facilitate buying; partnerships with Snapchat, WeChat and Kakao were made; and the collection was available to buy from Burberry’s Regent Street flagship store and website immediately after the show.

THE COLLECTION WAS INSPIRED BY VIRGINIA WOOLF

Before the show, the fashion house shared an image of Virginia Woolf’s 1928 historical fantasy Orlando. Set during the reign of Elizabeth I, the novel follows the story of a poet who transitions from a man to a woman and lives for centuries. As one of Woolf’s most popular novels, it’s often been used for scholarly analysis in relation to gender studies. Here, this inspiration translated to some serious Elizabethan vibes: ruffs and ruffles, lace and leg-of-mutton sleeves, embroidery and rich floral prints.

THE CASTING WAS ON POINT

Burberry’s casting is always one to keep an eye out for because they tend to bring together a mix of already established models and the next big things. This time round, casting directors Barbara Nicole and Leila Ananna enlisted catwalk favourites Lineisy Montero and Dilone to walk in the show and a batch of newcomers that included Sanita Matti, Flo Miller and Maya Gunn.

Watch the show in its entirety below:

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