All About Burberry in 9 Points

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Thomas Burberry is a legend when it comes to fashion: In his shop he gave life to the Burberry line, creating an ultra-resistant fabric, the Gabardine, and some of the most iconic garments of the Twentieth Century. We summarized in 9 points the 160 years of this British Maison’s incredible story that, from the production of simple work clothes, has conquered the world of luxury becoming the emblem of sporty-chic par excellence.

History of Burberry

#1

Burberry and the fabrics’ passion

history of Burberry

 Born in August 1835 in Brockham Heel, a small English village, Thomas Burberry developed a passion for the art of tailoring working as an apprentice in a shop of clothes and fabrics. Son of a farmer and a grocer, Burberry captured immediately the importance of an appropriate working uniform, especially for farmers and grocers. So, in 1856, at just 21, he opened his first shop, “Burberry & Sons”, in the Hampshire Basingstoke city. His elegant but strong fabric items obtained a huge success and the number of clients increased enormously.

History of Burberry

#2

The discovery of Gabardine

history of Burberry

Burberry was one of the first tailors turning the fashion world around combining elegance and functionality in his creations. His items couldn’t be just nice to look at but they had to be comfortable and easy to wear. So, in 1879, he invented the Gabardine, an innovative fabric made of wool, cotton and mixed textured, compact but transpiring and especially waterproof.

 

History of Burberry

#3

The London conquest

history of Burberry

The huge fabric’s success allowed him to open in 1891 his first shop in London. He also changed the name of the shop in “Burberrys”. The waterproof and strong features of the gabardine made him popular among the royal family who then commissioned him to create the uniforms for the British army during the Boer Wars and First World War.

History of Burberry

#4

The trench coat

history of Burberry

Designed as a military item for the trench soldiers, the trench coat was designed by Burberry under the commission of the English Crown in 1912. The first model was the Tielocken, an entire gabardine-made coat, buttons free and with a waist belt. It had shoulder pads and D shaped rings on the belt that allowed to hang small equipment/stuff and the length was just below the knee to keep soldiers from bad weather. A similar model was worn by the famous explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, who used it for his expeditions to the Antarctic Polar Circle. In the 20’s, Burberry conquered the aviation world designing the jumpsuit for famous pilot Claude Graham-White. Trench-coat was considered the symbol of comfort of practicality and soon became the sporty item par excellence.

History of Burberry

#5

The trench fever in cinema

history of Burberry

Used by soldiers also in their everyday life, the trench fascinated the civil population. However, only thanks to the world of cinema it became one of the most iconic items of the 20th century, worn by both men and women. Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn worn it inside and outside the movie set, becoming style icons along with it. And we can’t forget the charming Humphrey Bogart who worn it in “Casablanca” in 1942.

History of Burberry

#6

The tartan motif

history of Burberry

The tartan motif, along with the historical brand mark (The Equestrian Knight), represents the distinctive sign of the label. During the 20s, the Check model trench was designed with an internal tartan motif. The classical Burberry tartan is recognized by its cream color, black and white intersecting stripes, narrow red accent stripes that together form squared shapes.This motif was then applied to accessories and many other brand’s items that are still produced today.

History of Burberry

#7

New Horizons

history of Burberry

In the 2000’s, the British label went beyond the clothing business throwing itself into the world of accessories and cosmetics. New fragrances, bags, foulards, shoes and hats (rigorously in tartan motif) were produced. To enhance and spread the brand’s philosophy, 5 different-style labels were created: Burberry, the main one; Burberry Prorsum, designed by Christopher Bailey, which has a more a glamourous and fancy touch; Burberry Black Label, developed only for Japan (here the tartan motif is completely absent in favor of gray, smoked, faint and solid colors); Burberry Sport and, finally, the Thomas Burberry exclusive line, which recalls the style of its founder developing unique items for private collections.

History of Burberry

#8

Burberry Muses

history of Burberry

In order to best celebrate the British high quality sartorial tradition, also the brand’s muses have English origins. Among them we should mention Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Emma Watson, Adwoa Aboah, Edie Campbell, Agyness Deyn, Jordan Dunn and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

History of Burberry

#9

Movie

history of Burberry

 In 2016, on the occasion of the 160th anniversary of the company, a short movie called“ The tale of Thomas Burberry” was shot. The movie was directed by Oscar winner Asif Kapadia and wrote by Oscar nominee Matt Charman. This film stars Sienna Miller, playing the role of Mr. Burberry’s wife, and Dominic West as the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

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