Spies, espionage, sex appeal. International capers and intrigue might not be the calling card of British brand Burberry, but creative director Christopher Bailey tapped into one aspect of the brand’s storied trenches that’s more about seduction than stormproofing. Christine Keeler, the showgirl-turned-government-liability that made news headlines in the ’60s inspired a collection charged with sex appeal at Burberry Prorsum. After all, it’s what’s under the trench coats that really gets spies and normal gentlemen alike hot under the collar.
Before Thatcher’s stiff upper lip and the womanizing ways of a certain Mi6 agent, Christine Keeler was a burlesque beauty who captivated a nation by adding a Russian spy, a British Secretary of State of War and a drug dealer to her list of lovers. Keeler met British Secretary of State of War John Profumo at a pool party and the two became romantically involved, but it wasn’t so much a Bridget Jones romantic comedy as it was a government scandal that makes the Clinton and Lewinsky scandal seem like teenage sexting. Keeler’s involvement with Johnny Edgecombe, a drug dealer, and Yevgeni Ivanov, a Russian spy, made her responsible for discrediting the entire conservative movement in ’60s England. Known for her long legs, come-hither looks and her fluent use of body language, she was the sex bomb that blew up and caused in international incident.
And since spies romanticize the trench coat (concealed weapon or concealed lingerie — take your pick) more than any other sartorial staple, leave it to the masterful Christopher Bailey to draw from Keeler’s sex appeal for his latest collection for Burberry Prorsum. Entitled Trench Kisses, he added fetishistic touches to the classic trench silhouette — think menswear-inspired loafer tassels as well as see-through rubber insets — that left little to the imagination. Model of the moment Cara Delevigne trotted out onto the runway in a rubber skirt, revealing heart-embellished bloomers that were a cheeky nod to Mod styling and models wore an exploded red and blue stripe that recalled a famed Keeler photo shoot from the Sixties as well. In another homage to the Mod era, Bailey sent out his entire lineup of models in shorter heels and styled with simple, no-nonsense hair and makeup. While it may take more than a playful twist on the trench coat to take down the crown, Bailey and Burberry showed that they’ve mastered the realm of digital shopping with their latest showing. Select pieces from the Fall 2013 show, including the heart bloomers, the new Crush bag, which models held like a clutch in their hands, as well as the kitten wedges, were available for pre-order right after Bailey took his bow. They sold out within minutes.
Photos courtesy Style.com and NPG.org