Burberry channels arty English dandy in latest menswear show in London

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LONDON - Colorful silk scarves tied daintily around the neck, fishnet mesh vests, big furry mohair coats — and we're talking about menswear, not women's.

The latest men's offerings from British luxury label Burberry Prorsum, showcased Wednesday in London, were themed "A painter's journey." The collection's decadent fabrics and arty prints had a feel of the English dandy and more than a hint of femininity about it.

Chief designer Christopher Bailey said he was inspired by the works of British artists including Christopher Wood and Ben Nicholson.

"That kind of translated into these hand-painted bags, hand-painted coats, embroideries and jacquards," he said backstage after the show.

The designer will soon also take on the role of CEO at Burberry after Angela Ahrendts announced she was leaving the brand for Apple.

Although Bailey is widely admired for transforming Burberry from a fusty brand to Britain's most powerful fashion house, there is uncertainty about how the label's business will be affected by the change.

In line with the arty theme, prints were big and bold. Models opened the catwalk wearing scarves, shirts and sweaters featuring prints of London maps and landmarks like St. Paul's Cathedral. Vines and autumn leave patterns in mustard, burgundy and hunter green dominated the second half of the show.

Many of those patterns were used on heavy blanket-like scarves, draped on one shoulder as if the model just casually threw it on. The look was stylish enough, though somewhat impractical off the catwalk.

Some of the looks — say the fluffy coats, floral suede outerwear and the way silk scarves were tied — might be too feminine-looking for many men, but there were also plenty of classic tweed and trench coats for the less adventurous.

Burberry's is the biggest and glitziest catwalk at London's menswear fashion shows, which closes Wednesday after dozens of displays from the likes of Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson, Hackett London and Hardy Amies.

The show, held in a specially-built glass tent in Kensington Gardens, drew rapper Tinie Tempah and singer Paloma Faith to its front row.

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Sylvia Hui can be reached at httlp://www.Twitter.com/sylviahui

Organizations: Burberry, Apple, Hardy Amies

Geographic location: London, Britain, St. Paul Kensington Gardens

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