Make no mistake, Burberry is betting big on L.A. On the heels of their Rodeo Drive flagship opening last year, Christopher Bailey and co. were back in town last night, this time producing a runway show and garden party at the iconic but oft-overlooked Griffith Observatory. “We wanted to come back to bring a bit of London to Los Angeles,” Bailey said as the sun was setting behind him.
After walking through custom-made British park gates, guests including Elton John, January Jones, Mila Kunis, Kate Beckinsale, and Michelle Monaghan wandered the proper English gardens Burberry created for the occasion, taking in sprawling views that stretched from downtown L.A. to the Pacific. From there, they made their way into the tented space for a showing of the Fall ’15 collection. While Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jason Statham greeted Mario Testino, most eyes were trained on the entire Beckham brood, who were seated front-row with Anna Wintour and CFDA Awards host-to-be James Corden. Nearby, Burberry faces Suki Waterhouse and Cara Delevingne sat huddled, exchanging whispers.
Jourdan Dunn was the first to hit the catwalk in a patchwork poncho with a swingy fringed hem, followed by other models in the folksy quilting, patterns, and elevated embroideries of the collection shown in February. Clare Maguire soon began the same full-throttled musical performance she gave in London. And as Naomi Campbell walked the finale to loud applause, Benjamin Clementine sang “London, London, London is calling,” and the stage opened to reveal a cutout of the London skyline.
One of the details of the L.A. effort that has made Burberry’s—and Bailey’s—intentions so clear is the addition of an entire runway collection exclusive to the new Rodeo store. So as Clementine continued on the keys and a set of real Grenadier Guards marched down the runway and through the show space, the models reemerged wearing eveningwear. The dresses came in a rainbow of saturated jewel tones, in floor lengths and sheer overlays that delivered the same elements of the Fall collection, with mirror embroidery, insets, and patchwork detailing. The men’s tuxedos all came accessorized with a signature Burberry plaid scarf casually wrapped around the neck. Campbell closed the show once more, though she was quickly upstaged, or rather out-walked, by Corden, whose appearance was a fitting warm-up for his June CFDA gig.
Afterward, the crowd slowly spilled out of the tent to face the facade of the observatory, where projections of the Guards in formation continued to appear. “James Dean actually shot one of the final scenes of Rebel Without a Cause here,” Bailey later revealed to Style.com, calling it an important moment for him. “There are great synergies between London and L.A.” Perhaps none more evident than the It Brit expat posse who turned out in full force. “And with the great art scene and great culture here, Los Angeles has attention on it for a reason,” he continued. And now, Angelenos have their attention on Bailey’s version of Burberry.
—Alexis Brunswick, Style.com