Aug 29, 2017
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Burberry to stage major photography retrospective: And, guess what? It’s all about British life

Aug 29, 2017

Burberry is to stage a major photography retrospective timed to open during next month’s London Fashion Week. And, not surprisingly for a brand whose cologne is called Brit, and which continually references UK artistic tribes and trends, the show will be about British life and character.

Dafydd Jones' Magdalen Commemoration Ball, Oxford, 1988 - DR

Entitled Here We Are, the exhibition will feature over 200 photos, many them never seen before, including works by mega hip lens-man Alasdair McLellan. In a release about the photo show, Burberry also revealed that McLellan has been named as its latest creative collaborator. Here We Are will also partly inaugurate Burberry’s new London exhibition space, a Palladian villa that was once England’s largest courtyard. Burberry’s spring 2018 collection will be unveiled in the same space two nights before.
“When we started thinking about curating Here We Are, I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved – one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours. It has been an extraordinary privilege to gather together this collection of photographs, that have influenced me so much over the years. They provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh. It’s the spirit of those photographs – sometimes ironic, sometimes tender, always truthful – that has guided our September collection. Together they will form an exhibition in our new show space, celebrating a very British way of life and way of dressing,” said Christopher Bailey, President and Chief Creative Officer, Burberry.

Here We Are will be jointly curated by Bailey, McLellan and Lucy Kumara, the director of the specialist fashion and photography bookshop Claire de Rouen, as well as a noted writer on contemporary fashion and imagery.
Like Bailey, McLellan is northern Englishman. Born in Doncaster, McLellan is noted for his gritty portraiture and documentation of British manhood, everything from Wayne Rooney – England’s all-time top scoring football player – to the British Army, portrayed in the photographer second book Ceremony.
Here We Are will include such gems as never before seen prints by Shirley Baker and Ken Russell; Karen Knorr’s portrayal of Belgravia in 1979; and photos 30 photographers including Charlie Philips, Dafydd Jones and Brian Griffin, as well as works by McLellan. These final images start being revealed today on Burberry’s social platforms, with new portraiture gradually unveiled over the coming months. In their enthusiasm Burberry also issued a few selected images from Here We Are including a great image by Martin Parr of pedestrians scurrying across a rainy O’Connell Street Bridge. Which is technically speaking in Dublin, the capital of Ireland.
The exhibition will run from September 18 to October 1 in Old Sessions House, Burberry’s new show venue in Clerkenwell, which will include a pop-up version of Thomas’s, Burberry’s café, and a Claire de Rouen bookshop. Clerkenwell is a neighbourhood, somewhat ironically for such a British label, that is known as London’s Little Italy, since Italians began settling there in the 1850s.

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