Burberry’s February 2017 campaign. Courtesy of Burberry/Josh Olins
“Henry Moore has long been an inspiration of mine, and with our February Collection we wanted to capture the way he played with form, texture and sculptural detail in a way that we haven’t before,’’ said Bailey, “As well as referencing his own personal style, and his iconic sculptures, the collection was also influenced by his creative process, which in so many ways is as inspiring as the works themselves.’’ The February collection is “an exploration of sculpture and silhouette, material and process”, his influences “articulated through form, texture and crafted detail as well as vivid prints referencing his designs from the archive in the Henry Moore Foundation.”
The collection launched in London last month with an exhibition in collaboration with the foundation titled Henry Moore: Inspiration & Process at Burberry’s Makers House, which showed the men’s and women’s collections alongside over 40 of Moore’s sculptures, monumental bronzes, working models, drawings and maquettes.
Trench coats, cable knit sweaters, shirts and asymmetric knitwear feature heavily in this very English collection. The eccentric cuts play on shape and scale, oversized sleeves and cut out details mirroring defining traits of Moore’s work. The androgynous silhouette and strong lapels of the tailored jackets sets off the Victorian feel of the delicate white lace dresses. There’s a concentration on the shoulder, with both woollen and embellished capes, echoing the strong shoulders Bailey sees in Moore’s sculpture. There is a strong feel of the sculptor’s own style in the studio too, with the emphasis on hardwearing materials and strong, capable proportions, such as wide-legged cropped work trousers. Textures have a rural rawness, with tweed and hand-looped rope work, echoing the swirling movement of Moore’s pen. The palette pared back to simple white, black, nude, indigo and red, interspersed with Moore prints. Drawings are printed onto fabric too, such as Reclining Figures 1937 and prints from his Pallas Heads series are repeated across silk dresses.
Boots, Dhs3,850, Burberry
Jeddah has some 600 public sculptures, thanks to an acquisition programme started by Dr Mohamed Farsi, mayor of Jeddah in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, works by 20th century European artists, such as Alexander Calder and Joan Miro, sit alongside modern and contemporary artists from the Middle East such as Mustafa Senbal, Salah Abdulkarim and Maha Mullah. In 1975 Farsi wrote a letter to Moore about buying his work. “Both Jeddah and Mecca as well as any other town in Saudi Arabia lacks the existence of marble work in the streets and squares considering the fact that our Moslim Religion forbids the statues that resemble humans or animals. Therefore, your art which is different will be acceptable and will be the first in our towns.”
Two years later, Farsi visited Moore in his studio in England, and purchased three sculptures: Two Large Forms’ (Three Piece Reclining Figure No .1), Large Spindle Piece and Oval with Points, at a total cost of US$675,000. A lot of money in the 1970s but it now looks a good investment; last year, Moore’s Reclining Figure: Festival sold for a record £24.7million (Dhs112.7) at Christie’s London 250th anniversary auction, Defining British Art. So, while Burberry’s February collection is as English as tea and crumpets after a bracing walk, it won’t be the first we’ve seen of Moore on the streets of the Middle East. He is here already, hiding in plain sight.