The fashion boom of the 70s and 80s saw Burberry consolidate its legacy as a pre-eminent name worldwide, held in place by the associated Burberry check and a sense of upper-class sobriety.
The turn of the century brought challenges as Burberry became linked with British ‘chav’ culture and an oversaturation and demystifying of the check and brand appeal.
Step in Christopher Bailey in 2001. He would return Burberry to prominence through a combination of social media savvy, adverts featuring British stars like Emma Watson [then knee-deep in Harry Potter fame] and a realignment of the check’s contrasting colours for a bolder look.
Ricardo Tisci took over creative reigns in 2018. The formalism and a muscular silhouette remain, while Tisci also brings freer rein and glamorous experimentation to a still British affair. Burberry remains number one in British fashion and one of the world’s most important fashion brands.
Burberry is a high quality and therefore expensive label. Burberry bags are priced from around £700 up to and beyond the £1,200 mark. This is not extraordinary for women’s bags, but Burberry is separate it from a smallish British fashion scene that has some big names [Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham] who do not match its history or appeal across continents and classes.
The Burberry Hampshire House Check & Leather Crossbody Black sets starting prices in the healthy £700 range. Classic Burberry designer handbag components feature. A functional box shape, withdrawn Burberry check [concealed behind the stronger leather flap], minimal and conservative decorage, slim shoulder strap and a cautious lack of overt hardware or extras.
It also summarises the Burberry approach to shoulder and crossbody bags –momentous but pragmatic. [For something a little easier on the eye, a Burberry bucket bag has a relaxed and laissez faire silhouette and posture, while canvas totes lean toward a logo-centric look].
How are Burberry bags made?
While its bags are subject to the same intensive design and manufacturing steps that most leather bags go through [the process of salting, tanning, and dyeing of leather – calf leather is a popular choice] – Burberry is committed to more sustainable methods of leather production and processes that decrease water production.
Expect production of bags in countries from China to Italy in keeping with the brand’s multinational presence. Leather goes through comprehensive templating, cutting, shaping, and stitching before it is authentication-stamped and finds its way to a store, or a stock room ready for shipping.
The Burberry Mini Leather Title Handle Handbag Black ups the ante in terms of presence, while diminishing neither the label’s commitment to understatement nor class. Check the simplicity of the quadrilateral silhouette and the triple-bullet button studs aligned at horizontal top. A chunkier identity is achieved [and distinguishes it from common lux or cuter shoulder bag templates] via robust top handles.
Its stature is aligned purposefully with the larger and more imposing leather tote. These models are Burberry’s claim to both a suited and booted London heritage, where Saville Row panache meets modish mood swings. It’s a great addition to up or downtown wardrobes, plus it treads a totally different path to the ostentatious and fashionable-by-name approach of some punchier European brands.
Burberrys brand reputation and values
Burberry.com places – like a well structured and placed handbag no less! – its value on four key pillars of creativity, social responsibility, heritage, and vision.
While fashion brands’ commitment to the modern mantras of equality, diversity and sustainability should always be tested by their business policies and fair treatment of employees and customers globally, and while many Burberry products are no longer produced in England, there is still reason to trust them as a brand with integrity.
With self-published and critically accepted measures that make it one of the most sustainable and environmentally conscious global outfits, fashion editors will also continually elevate them for style and ethical reasons.
Burberry doesn’t fall under the ‘big brother’ reach of conglomerates like LMVH or Kering. This independence places Burberry in a somewhat precarious but also advantageous position in the big-money marketplace of contemporary luxury goods.
It has no parent company to fall back on [potential losses or compromises cannot be consolidated by the bigger organization] and it does not have the far-reaching marketing muscle enjoyed by a Louis Vuitton or Gucci.
But while Burberry is by no means a small outfit [profits dance annually somewhere around the £350,000,000 mark] it is small enough to retain something of an ‘outsider’ British status whilst also not to falling whim to the uniform advertising initiatives or resource sharing within umbrella companies that frequently make brand differentiation a matter of style over substance.
The Burberry Medium Macken HHL Brown Clutch Bag exemplifies some of that brand originality with a British twist. Burberry brown and [especially] tan really are colour legends to compete with Chanel’s black and Valentino’s red. And yet – partly because the tone has a less fashionable and utilitarian leaning – it can go somewhat unheralded.
But the utilization of tan is an essential feather in the cap of proper style arbiters [especially if you’re British!] The Macken says it all with satchel and countryside overtures that can roam the estate happily and even [ala Gucci] the street side café and market town with reserved elegance.
The black leather-topped version of the same bag [Burberry Medium Macken HHL Black Shoulder Bag] with a mid-forties civil servant quintessence is both stark in its singularity yet very cool indeed.
A word or two about colour contrasts – black and brown is a hard [although not impossible] assignment to fulfil, but if you’re interested in shifting up from your go-to three-match colour palette, then black and tan is generally a winner regardless of your skin and hair colour.
They can make for a great investment later down the line
Investment is a somewhat contrary term in luxury handbags when considering what else you could use £1,000 for. The saturation of luxury goods into the mainstream and the focus on seasonal and resort collections that re-imagine the ‘new’ to keep up with the high street and fakers also makes old things old hat pretty quickly.
But Burberry does have strong investment value, both in terms of potential re-sale [don’t!] and long-term use. Quality of construction, simplicity and ‘timelessness’ of designs; the universal appreciation of the Burberry check as a marquee and its longstanding heritage, and Burberry’s Britishness and relative independence mean that Burberry bags and clothes will probably remain desirable as long as there are red buses and black cabs.
But for something a little more of the moment: the Burberry Lola Quilted Crossbody Bag in Black. That quilting has a Gucci-come-Moschino debauchery to it, while the single zip mechanism wrapping the bulk rectangle façade implies basics for a full-on night out. Finished with gold hardware logo with an ostentatious standing.