For years, the fashion industry has despaired at the senseless speed of having to do it all. The demand for collection after collection — spring, fall, resort, cruise, and all the pre-seasons in between — isn't just exhausting for press, it's become crippling for the designers themselves. And, for lack of a better word, shit hit the fan in 2015, with a remarkable number of the world’s most talented names behind some of the world's biggest houses stepping down in the face of overwhelming stress. Earlier this month, however, Burberry announced that it was going to shake things up: Its quietly confident creative director, Christopher Bailey, officially said enough was enough, announcing that the house would now show just two collections per year. This may not sound revelatory, but honestly, it is. And it took a big name like Burberry to finally pull the plug — the British heritage brand and Bailey both being trendsetters, of course.
On Monday, this pared-back plan came to fruition, with the label's fall/winter collection that featured both men's and womenswear. Called "A Patchwork," the offering interpreted its title in heavy woolen coats, asymmetric plaid patterns on dresses, and contrasting pleats. Seasoned Burberry girl Edie Campbell opened the proceedings (set to live music performed by Jake Bugg) in a military-style coat with a beautifully green, not quite Harlequin print; It model of the moment, Lineisy Montero, heightened the envy in a green snakeskin mackintosh, and Ruth Bell sported a freshly shaved head and a black overcoat with a bold yellow fur collar. What truly excelled here were the color combinations and clashing textures — it was as artful a selection as ever, supporting the idea that designers cut back in order to truly hone and refine their aesthetics. In another cool move, Burberry launched, for the first time, a "See Now, Buy Now," program: Instead of landing in stores six months after he show, the collection was already available for sale at the company's 121 Regent Street store in London. While this may seem like another act of "senseless speed," Burberry is just one of the labels acting on what everyone else is thinking: that it makes no sense to show a collection in February that isn't available until September. As much as this show was, truly, about the clothes, it also signified the first step in a shift for the fashion industry and how it operates. It focused on the brand's consumers — the people actually buying and wearing the clothes — and really, what more could we want than that?