• Text Alex James Taylor
  • 21st February 2017

Moore is more

For eminent British artist Henry Moore, timelessness was an essential quality. At Burberry’s FW17 show, housed in the brand’s new Makers House Soho location, the Yorkshire artist’s bold sculptures occupied the vast space, as visually arresting as ever.

“Henry Moore’s art has always loomed large in my imagination: these great, iconic figures in the British landscape, elemental sculptures that manage also to be human, soft, approachable. I’ve always found them very moving, I think perhaps because they manage to be so monumental and yet so personal, so public and yet so private at the same time,” said Christopher Bailey post-show. It’s no wonder that juxtaposition between private and public rings true with the designer, after all, it’s how Burberry operates: the show may be strictly exclusive, however the clothes are available to purchase immediately afterwards through the brand’s straight-to-consumer format; plus, Moore’s work is currently on display to the public at Makers House.

That dialogue between artist and house was clear from the get-go. As the first model walked past Moore’s iconic Draped Reclining Mother and Baby, the sculpture’s sweeping curves continued through to the opening look: an ivory double-faced wool trench tied at the waist with a cut-out from neck to stomach, like the recurring gaps in Moore’s work – emphasising three dimensionality and reaffirming the connection between nature and humanity. Oh, and the shoes? Black pointed-toe boots with a ringed wedge heel that resembled downsized versions of Oval with Points. Moore is always more. 

Exploring sculpture and form, knitwear came deconstructed, slashed and rearranged to form bold silhouettes that altered the shape of the body, whilst crisp shirting was adorned with delicate lace (alert your nan, crocheted doilies are de rigueur), taking inspired from Moore’s intricate string and plaster maquettes. Other pieces covered in vivid prints referencing designs from the archive at the Henry Moore Foundation offered less subtle connections with the collections’ muse.

On the balcony above, the heavenly choir sang. The Heritage orchestra & choir to be precise, accompanying musician Anna Calvi as she exercised her own skills of control and craft via a stirring medley, including new track Whip the Night. As the finale brought the show to a close – featuring 78 dramatic limited-edition couture capes based on Moore’s elemental creations – the final zealous drumbeat of Calvi’s performance caused a camera lid to fall from the ceiling and crash to the floor in front of this writer, leaving several editors fearing for their coiffures. 

Moore once said: “The creative habit is like a drug. The particular obsession changes, but the excitement, the thrill of your creation lasts.” Here was Bailey, brilliantly proving this point.