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The late British sculptor Henry Moore, pictured above in 1965, left an indelible impression on Burberry’s chief creative officer Christopher Bailey
Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Christopher Bailey’s deeply personal February 2017 show for Burberry felt as though it was among his most adventurous and exciting in recent memory, perhaps because it drew so richly on the designer’s long held fascination with the iconic late British sculptor Henry Moore – so much so that a sense of the chief creative officer and CEO’s unbridled passion was palpable and pure.

The venue for the brand’s second see-now, buy-now collection, Makers House in Soho, will now house an exhibition of Moore’s work in celebration of the collaboration between two titans of British creativity. On now, Henry Moore: Inspiration and Process features over 40 of Moore’s monumental bronze sculptures, models, drawings and maquettes, many of which clearly influenced the distorted scale, asymmetric silhouettes and surprising textures of Bailey’s second collection in the straight-to-consumer format.

“I have been fascinated by the great British sculptor Henry Moore for as long as I can remember – his work has always had a powerful influence on me,” Bailey said in a statement.

“Looking at, and thinking about, his work set up a series of conversations as we began working on our latest collection.”
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Henry Moore’s Mother and Child: Block Seat, 1983–84, seen in situ at Burberry’s Makers House
Credit: Courtesy of the artist/Burberry

The distorted proportions of a tumbled tropical garbadine trench coat echoed the curvilinear forms of Moore’s semi-abstract bronzes, which Bailey says he has lasting childhood memories of having grown up near the artist’s permanent sculpture park. It’s also fitting that Bailey would cite Moore to reinvent the dimensions of the label’s storied and most traditional garment as both the artist and the coat itself hail from the Castleford, Yorkshire region.

Likewise, Moore’s studio clothes were also invoked through Breton-striped separates and cable-knit Aran sweaters cut and reconfigured in figure-hugging (and highly-desirable) new iterations. Grey marle sweatshirts overlain with artisan loomed contorted ropes also evoked Moore’s use of string threaded with wire in his more abstract ‘stringed’ figure works.

Bailey said he worked closely with Moore’s daughters and the trustees of his eponymous foundation, which was established in 1977 to encourage public appreciation of the visual arts, to pay tribute to “the creativity and enormous contribution he made to the development of contemporary art in the UK and way beyond”.

As the foundation enters its 40th year, both the collection and its accompanying exhibition provide a fitting tribute to one of the country (and the last century’s) most significant sculptors – one worth visiting (or perhaps shopping) should you happen to be in London over the coming week.

Henry Moore: Inspiration and process is at Makers House is located at 1 Manette Street, Soho, until February 27. You can find out more information here.

Tile image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
Cover image: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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