The bohemian spirit that Christopher Bailey has been toying with for a while at Burberry was back with a vengeance for S/S 15. The Burberry man is a dreamer now it seems, wandering the hills notebook in hand, travel satchel on shoulder and wide-brim hat atop head. Burberry's not a brand you look to for storytelling - they're a product pusher, not a yarn spinner - but this collection drew on England's talent for producing novelists, poets and writers. Prints featured typography inspired by vintage English book covers, while models clutched leather-bound journals. The given inspiration was English novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin. That may come as a surprise for a clean-cut preppy brand like Burberry. After all, Chatwin was a complex fellow, on one hand a brilliant socialite and thinker, on the other a restless soul, loathed by some for his exaggeration and occasional lies, who spent the latter part of his life struggling with HIV, the side effects of which saw him suffer regular bouts of psychosis. If you looked very hard you could read some of that complexity from the slightly more sensual, opulent hues like rich purple and Magenta pink that broke up the wholesome, rural palette, or in the way scarves hung seductively and loosely off models backs in an ever so slightly playboy-ish fashion, but perhaps this was reading too deep.
All in all, there was a certain irony to a mega-brand like Burberry riffing on the artistic brilliance of a difficult soul. But then, given how many huge commercial brands - Paul Smith, Moschino, Diesel - are vying for face-time on the London schedule alongside the young, penniless brands everyone wants to talk about, isn't that what London Collections: Men is as a whole - a chance for salesmen to jump on the bandwagon of youth and win coverage by placing themselves alongside fearless, authentic creativity?