Burberry's Christopher Bailey talks iPhone 5S, being mates with Jony, and the new spring/summer 2014 collection

Burberry has revealed its spring/summer 2014 collection at the start of the London Fashion Week, but those in the audience who paid close attention would have noticed something very different from previous years.

As the models, including Cara Delevingne, walked down the long catwalk in front of celebrities like Harry Styles, Sienna Miller, Paloma Faith and others including Pocket-lint, they were being filmed not by the latest 4K camera, or in 3D, but by the new still-to-be-released iPhone 5S.

Dotted around the room this year were 14 iPhone 5S smartphones recording and live streaming all the action to numerous destinations such as billboards and Burberry stores, as well as the usual social networking platforms like Facebook and Vine.

READ: The Burberry flagship store that makes the Apple Store look Victorian

As the models showed off "English Rose" - the new collection from Christopher Bailey, Burberry's chief creative officer - dedicated cameramen controlled, captured and shared all the action with millions of fans who tuned into to see the 15-minute-long event.

There were nine iPhone 5S phones on the runway taking shots, three on a moving rail cam following the models, one on the roof getting all the action, and a further iPhone 5S on a jimmy rig outside for celeb shots. 

But why the new iPhone and not a partnership with someone else instead? Pocket-lint caught up with Christopher Bailey backstage to find out.

So why iPhone?

Apple has made technology very effortless and very natural. We often talk about the trench coat as effortless elegance. You can throw it over an evening dress or pair of jeans. I think that the iPhone has the same type of philosophy as this. It is beautifully designed, but you take it everywhere, you carry it everywhere. But it also creates the most beautiful imagery and you can use that on a variety of different platforms like we have today.

The design is hugely important. We care about the integrity of design. The amount of work that goes into making sure that not only functions and works, you should be able to take that for granted, but that it looks beautiful and we enjoy it as an object.

Today we've been capturing all our content on the new phone. It's mainly because of the quality. We streamed the show live. We weren't using cumbersome cameras that needed to be controlled by 7 people, but this tiny phone instead. Using the iPhone we streamed it to millions of people around the world. It's remarkable.

Did you approach Apple or did they approach you?

I've known Jony [Ive] for a long time and he is a mate of mine and it is something that organically grew. It wasn't some strategic plan that we had to do it. Also the dates just worked out. They [Apple] announced the phone on the 10th, our event was on the 16th, it goes on sale on the 20th.

What do you think of the new colours of the iPhone 5C?

They are beautiful. I am pretty biased, so you aren't going to get a balanced conversation from me.

If you had to pick one which one would you go for? The pink on the catwalk was very similar to the colour of Apple's new phone wasn't it?

It was. But pink's a bit feminine for me. I might go for the yellow if I had to chose.

We see you've gone for the 5S?

Yes, I've got space grey, actually because I love the name. I couldn't decide between the gold and the grey and then guy said it was called space grey and that nailed it.

How important is technology to what Burberry does?

Really important. It is changing the way that we all live. I do think that fashion is a part of the way people evolve and change and technology is such a big part of the way that we all interact with each other and engage with each other. The themes and communities and spaces. Burberry is an old young-old company. It's brand that's very old, but teeming with young people and energy. Technology isn't there because it is a tick box, but something that is very authentic in what we do. The way that we design, the way we are organised, and the way that we communicate internally.

Has technology changed the way you design clothes?

One hundred per cent. The way we can now formulate ideas and share them on a range of platforms is so much easier.

What about the actual clothes, like changing the way a coat is cut to accommodate a phone?

We are definitely working on technology embedded into clothes. There is a lot of exciting stuff going on at the moment looking at embedding technology into fibres. We've got RFID tags in our coats that then when you walk up to a mirror in our Regent Street store to then see the full story behind that coat. So you see that the cashmere was knitted in Scotland.

I think technology is allowing us to put the soul into the craftsmanship of clothes. It's not just a fashion show. There are the designers creating it, then the artisans making it, then some swanky person on the catwalk. The whole story can be told. It's very exciting. If technology wasn't part of the way we think I think that would be disappointing.

What's your favourite feature in the iPhone 5S?

Slow-mo, everyone is obsessing over Slow-mo, oh my god. I was doing it last night in rehearsals and it was amazing.

UPDATE: Since this interview, Chris Bailey has been appointed CEO of Burberry as well as chief creative. Former boss Angela Ahrendts has left to join Apple.



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