May 29, 2019 | By Alice Gividen
Songs such as U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” and Muse’s “Apocalypse Please” established a rather conflicting tone for the collection, which makes sense in this time of so many triumphs and tragedies. In his show notes, Christopher Bailey tipped his pageboy cap to the England of Bill Brandt, the photographer whose images captured the country’s austerity in the years immediately following World War II. The obvious and implied “make the best in worst times” lesson soon became clear with clothes that remained disheveled but chic. Outerwear of the sort that might be seen on dock workers in the north of England, had tones of “don’t-mess-with-me” aggressiveness. Bold pops of color on interior flaps, and razor sharp silhouettes contributed to this combative attitude. The cabled knitwear and patchwork Fair Isle sweaters were rooted in a frugal, hand-made reality. Washed cotton shirts with pleated fronts and little ties were right out of a Thomas Hardy story, giving the normal dose of romanticism to Bailey’s aesthetic. Velvet suits, also washed, in bottle green and midnight blue, had an exhausted glamor about them. The Fair Isle cummerbunds were probably the biggest triumph, proving that the most pleasant surprises can sometimes rise out of the most unconventional.
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