United Visual Artists lights up Christopher Bailey’s final Burberry show
Time takes on mysterious and shifting forms during a fashion show. The event, which is usually over in a mere 15 minutes, represents past months of moodboard research, fabric sourcing and sampling, and rigorous catwalk production. It also simultaneously presents clothes which will be worn in the future. The concept of passing time was pivotal to Burberry’s February 2018 show, presented last night on 17 February at the Dimco Buildings in West London, as it also marked Christopher Bailey’s final outing for the brand, after an incredible 17 years at its helm.
For his final runway outing, Christopher Bailey teamed up with United Visual Artists, presenting its large scale installation Our Time (2016), as part of his final catwalk show. The London-based art practice explores abstract concepts, like language, time and sensory perception in its large scale works, and have worked with institutions including The Barbican, the Seoul Museum of Art and YCAM, Japan.
Our Time (2016) on loan from the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) Australia had never been seen before in the United Kingdom. An immersive and expansive kinetic sculpture, the artwork is made up of a series of hanging mechanical pendulums, which move slowly thorough the air and swing to their own rhythm. They appear to defy gravity, and act as a palpable visualisation of time passing.
Spectrum, by United Visual Artists
‘Whether it’s a fashion show, an art installation or a piece of architecture, most creative processes are working towards a point of time when they’re considered to be finished,’ says UVA co-founder Matt Clark of his interest in presenting Our Time as part of a fashion show. ‘A piece of clothing can be worn, a work of art can be experienced and a building can be lived in, but absolutely everything will be subject to entropy. I like to explore the spaces between traditional disciplines – this project proposed a number of interesting dynamics between fashion, art, performance and architectural space.’
Instead of the sound of a chiming clock which has previously accompanied Our Time, the installation was presented against an exuberant disco runway soundtrack by Jimmy Somerville, The Communards and Bronski Beat. The artwork’s swinging pendulums moved slowly through the air during the show, as if pulled by invisible pieces of string. They encapsulated a visual snapshot of Bailey’s time at the house – 17 years distilled into minutes, presented against a youthful and energetic catwalk collection that celebrated the codes of the house, from the trench coat to the cape, the Burberry check to the military coat.
Not just a snapshot of Bailey’s illustrious past and a celebration of the present, the runway show was also nod to the future. Bailey presented his final interpretation of the Burberry check, one finished with a rainbow print, and a dedication to the LGBTQ+ communities. As the show culminated, the brand’s band of models walked the runway under a pyramid of rainbow laser light. Time is past, present and future – this was a sensory celebration of its many facets, moments and opportunities.