Burberry

Oodles of doodles: Burberry spring/summer 2018

While I'm not Burberry's biggest fan at the moment, I did want to share their spring/summer 2018 blush (leftover inventory of which I'm hoping doesn't go up in flames).  As with previous releases the design is a makeup version of one of Burberry's seasonal pieces.  In this case, the blush borrows one of the patterns from the Doodle collection, an illustration-based lineup created by British artist/director Danny Sangra.  I like that they chose the artist collaboration from their spring collection rather than blindly using an in-house design.  Lovely though they can be, using the work of an outside artist is a nice change of pace. 

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush detail

Burberry Doodle blush detail

The particular "doodle" on the palette appeared on this trench coat and sweatshirt.  It may have been on other pieces but I didn't spot any.

Burberry Doodle trench coat
(image from bergdorfgoodman)

Burberry Doodle sweatshirt
(image from farfetch.com)

As usual, I felt the need to show the exact part of the pattern used.  I believe the eye on the right was moved down from where it was in the original pattern so as to fill some blank space.  It's an incredibly strange design that looks almost surreal or psychedelic to my eye.  Between the hand that appears to have a pinky finger with teeth, the square made up of tiny x's, the arrow shapes and the words "oh" and "England", there's some weird stuff going on here.  However, that's par for the course with this artist.

Burberry Doodle palette detail

So as not to leave you in the dark about the style of the artist who created this very odd pattern, let's take a peek at Danny Sangra's illustrations and his collaboration with Burberry.  I have to give them credit for seeking out a young, fresh artist who was able to infuse this venerable brand with a little cheekiness.  Sangra, who studied graphic design at London's prestigious Central St. Martin's, has been drawing approximately since he was 8 years old, when he took a tumble off a chair at his mother's hair salon.  "I was a little shaken so to calm me down, my mum’s assistant got me to draw some cartoons. That is literally the day I started to draw with enthusiasm," he says.  Most of his images consist of vintage magazine pages covered in offbeat phrases and words - sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious (or both), but always visually compelling.  They remind me a little of drawing in your junior high textbook or passing funny notes during class; there's something a bit juvenile about marking up these images that makes me giggle.

Danny Sangra

Danny Sangra

I cracked up at this one, since it reminded me of the time I left a magazine out on the kitchen counter only to come home and find that my husband had blacked out the cover girl's teeth and gave her a mustache.  I can't for the life of me remember who it was (maybe Katy Perry), but it was just one of those moments that made me hysterical laughing.  Nothing like coming home from work and being unexpectedly confronted with a graffitied magazine.  (I asked him why he did it and he said he was just bored and thought it would be funny.  Fair enough.)

Danny Sangra

Scribbling random words and images in fashion magazines may have gotten Sangra in trouble with his parents when he was a kid, but proved to be worthwhile long-term:  in the summer of 2017, his "doodles" caught the attention of Burberry, who gave Sangra free reign to re-imagine some of their campaign images from their archives with his signature humorous style in a project called "Now Then".  Phrases are scattered across the photos in an almost stream-of-consciousness manner, infused with British silliness that doesn't fall into stereotypical traps.  He explains, "I tend to play with colloquialisms, surreal thoughts and kitchen sink-esque observations...it feels like a very British commentary.  [T]ypically, I write things that need to be deciphered. However, for the Burberry project, from the beginning it was meant to be very British – but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just 'Big Ben’ and ’London Bus' British! I was born in Yorkshire, but have lived in London almost half my life; I wanted a lot of colloquialisms which I knew would bring a humour to the project." 

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This one was my favorite.  "I'll put the kettle on." 

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The advertising project led to more work with Burberry - an augmented reality app*, a Snapchat takeover, and of course, Sangra's work appearing on Burberry's clothing and accessories. The color schemes for both the app and fashion items were coordinated due to, ironically, Sangra's colorblindness.  "I've always been very specific about colour – because I have to be!...For the bag collection, it was actually dictated by the Augmented Reality project I did previously with Burberry. Because I was painting in Virtual Reality, and the colour had to pop against whatever real-life situation people chose to use the app, I went for primary colours. Then, when it came to designing the bags, we felt it would be good to keep the world cohesive, which is why I made the bags bright unlike the archive illustration pieces."  Sangra kept the primary colors as well as Burberry's traditional brown check pattern, but also added a healthy dose of vibrant shades.

Burberry Doodle tote bags

Burberry Doodle tote bag
(image from juice.com.sg)

Burberry Doodle wallet
(image from tradesy)

Some of the clothing even bordered on neon.  (And I swear the pink on this dress is the same shade as the blush palette.)

Burberry Doodle dress

Burberry Doodle sweatshirt
(image from nordstrom)

Sangra also did live illustration at several Burberry flagships across the globe, decorating customers' bags as well as the store windows.  “It's always an entertaining way to connect with the people passing by...Kinda like if the store was talking to you. That seems an over the top way of describing what I'm doing -- essentially it's Burberry letting a tall bloke paint random things on their windows,” he says.  This sort of hands-on artist involvement with a brand isn't new - see OB for Shu Uemura and Donald Robertson - but Sangra brought his unique brand of irreverence and wit to the concept.  Unsurprisingly, he didn't want the run-of-the-mill "pretty" window displays:  "I knew I would write “How do you say roast beef Yorkshire pudding” in the Tokyo store window, but I didn't know I was going to lay down and pretend I was asleep! I've kept every window on the tour 'internationally local' – but once I'm in the window, who knows! I've been getting away with more and more as this tour progresses. I want people on the street to stop and take it in. I don't just want some pretty windows."  

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As to be expected, Sangra also had a field day with customizing the bags at these events. 

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

It was a fruitful collaboration to be sure, but the key to its success was Burberry giving more or less carte blanche for Sangra to do as he pleased, which is quite refreshing in the land of artist collaborations.  He explains, "[W]hat surprised me was how much freedom they have given me. Usually, with companies of that size, there's tons of restrictions – but Christopher [Bailey] and the team have just let me get on with what I do. Obviously, I reacted to the fact it's an illustrious British brand that is so ingrained in the culture. Whatever I did, it had to feel honest."  Sangra clearly enjoyed this freedom, even poking gentle fun at the Burberry brand.

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

What I like most about Sangra is obviously his sense of humor; the fact that he doesn't take himself or art in general all that seriously makes his work easily accessible.  His approach:  "I think you need humour across the board in general. Humour allows for more interaction. It seeks to unify rather than segregate (most of the time). I have a difficult time when I see people taking art too seriously. Art shouldn't be elitist, it should inspire. Humour is just another tool to create a response. I tend to use humour as a cloaking device...I think the humour [in my work] comes from me not trying to sell the work; I'm just writing whatever is on my mind, from either my own points of view or my characters’ points of view. I don't really try make stuff funny, it's just the way it comes out. There's an awkwardness to the way I present it that adds to it – you either relate to my work or you don’t, I’m not trying to hook you in!"  

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Additionally, Sangra's clever use of text, whether alone or scrawled over magazine images, is the key ingredient in making his work come alive.  While Sangra is also a film director, reading and writing serve as the foundation for his creative process.  "I'm not a heavy reader as I lack the patience, but I'm trying! I find reading gives me the most inspiration...I write more than anything else these days. I constantly write notes. Words, conversations etc. Those tend to ignite a project. I'll hear a phrase and then I'll either think of a film I can make with it or how it could become a series of images."  Jotting down a few phrases on a slip of paper seems overly simple - I can see how some wouldn't consider it "real" art - but keep in mind that the written word is essential to the work of tons of "real" artists (i.e., Basquiat, Barbara Kruger).  The process is slightly more complex than you'd think.  Having said that, I don't believe Sangra's scribbles are incredibly high-brow or overly conceptual pieces (although his in-store antics could certainly serve as performance art), but sometimes it's nice not to be confronted with anything that could be remotely construed as pretentious.  With Sangra, what you see is what you get; there's no affectation here.

Danny Sangra
(images from instagram unless otherwise noted)

Getting back to the Burberry palette, I'm so curious to know whether Sangra is aware that one of his illustrations appeared on a makeup item.  While I think it would have been incredibly fun to present him with an empty palette and have him come up with something just for the makeup line, I still appreciate that Burberry used one of his existing designs rather than relying on their usual seasonal collection.  As for the design itself, the fact that it's such an odd jumble of images makes it memorable and takes away the haute couture formality and seriousness that can sometimes plague makeup releases from high-fashion houses.  By choosing possibly the strangest illustration Sangra had created for Burberry, the blush perfectly represents not only his work but also a more playful, casual side of the brand that we don't often see.  I must add, however, that I think it would have been hilarious to have one of the Now Then images on the outer packaging.  ;)

What do you think? 

 

*I had no idea what an AR app was.  Fortunately this article explains it in a nutshell:  "The augmented-reality feature interacts with users’ camera feeds to digitally redecorate their surroundings with Burberry-inspired drawings by the artist Danny Sangra...The new augmented-reality feature allows users to export the images they create, enhanced with graffiti-like doodles, to social media in a Burberry frame."


Quick post: freeing the beast with Burberry

Apologies in advance for this short and rather sloppy post on Burberry's latest palette...the Curator is both generally exhausted and busy as a little bee working on more exciting things like the fall exhibition and some truly amazing holiday collections.  This is not to say that Burberry's fall blush is subpar; as a matter of fact, I think it may be the most intricate one they've released to date.  The detail on the leaves is beautiful, but I think my favorite part is that they're raised slightly above the background - it really allows the interplay of matte and shimmer textures to shine.

Burberry fall 2017 blush palette

Burberry fall 2017 blush palette

Burberry fall 2017 blush palette

As with previous seasonal palettes, the print is a reproduction of one that appeared on some of the pieces from the fall 2017 fashion collection.  In particular, the fall palette borrows one of Burberry's "beasts" prints, which were inspired by the fanciful mythical creatures lining the pages of medieval English manuscripts.  This particular print surfaced on much of Burberry's line: womenswear, menswear, accessories and kids' clothes.  (There was another beast print that was used on this lovely beauty box but I skipped it as I didn't think it was that special, plus I need to budget for many holiday items!)

Burberry fall 2017

Burberry fall 2017

Burberry fall 2017

Burberry fall 2017
(images from us.burberry.com)

For the life of me though, I couldn't find an exact match for the pattern on the palette, so I think it may have been modified slightly to fit better.  More specifically, I'm noticing two key differences on the right side of the palette.  It looks like the beast's profile has been erased and replaced with some leaves, and another four-petaled flower has been added in place of his paws/hooves.

Burberry fall 2017 beast print and palette comparison

I also went slightly insane trying to distort the print in Photoshop so that it matched the exact angle of the palette's print.  In the end I couldn't figure it out and gave up before I threw my computer out the window.  I can rotate images just fine but couldn't seem to do any fancy stuff (distort, warp, skew, perspective, etc.)

Burberry fall 2017 beast print and palette comparison

It would have been great if Burberry had kept the print exactly as it was - wouldn't you have liked to see a little medieval beast peeking out from your blush?  I also would have appreciated it if they would have been a little more specific in their references so I could have found the original images.  For example, even though the spring 2017 blush's design wasn't my favorite, I was overjoyed when I found the exact wallpaper print they used, and all they needed to divulge was that the wallpaper was at the V & A.  This time it would have been useful to know the specific medieval manuscripts they were looking at so I could have done some digging.  (I did do a cursory search for medieval manuscript illustrations but didn't see anything strikingly similar).

Anyway, despite these slight missteps this was one of Burberry's prettiest offerings and certainly Museum-worthy.  What do you think?  Oh, and if you crave a daily dose of medieval manuscript illustrations chock full of mythical creatures and other assorted weirdness found in the margins of these tomes, this is the Tumblr for you. ;)


Spring 2017 sneak peek: Burberry Silk and Bloom palette

Burberry Silk and Bloom blush palette

I hope Burberry doesn't stop releasing their runway-inspired palettes, as I've become quite fond of them. While their most recent offering isn't my favorite, I will certainly take it over nothing.  For their spring 2017 blush palette, Burberry chose a hexagonal floral pattern that appeared on several items in the fashion collection (and, interestingly, on the runway floor).

Burberry spring 2017
(images from us.burberry.com and vogue.com)

Burberry Silk and Bloom blush palette

One significant item of note that I somehow missed when discussing the fall palette was that the wallpapers Burberry borrowed for patterns to use in their spring 2017 collections are housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, so off I went to see if I could find the originals.  To my astonishment and great delight they were available to view online!  Here's the one that inspired the spring 2017 pattern.

Wallpaper, ca. 1830
(image from collections.vam.ac.uk)

According to the V & A, this was made around 1830:  "This wallpaper was designed to imitate moulded plasterwork.  Moulded plaster was a fashionable method of wall and ceiling decoration in the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was expensive.  Wallpaper printed in shades of grey and buff was a cheaper way of achieving a similar decorative effect."

Just for my own gratification here are some of the other items that I mentioned in my previous post and the nail polish set, along with the original wallpaper.  These were available for purchase back in the fall, but considered part of spring 2017...sort of.   It's all very confusing to me, but Burberry was testing out the see-now, buy-now approach back in September 2016, hence why I thought the wallpaper-based items at the website were part of the fall 2016 collection.  Apparently Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey is doing away with formal spring/fall collections (in name, anyway) and showing one collection in September and February, with styles that are meant to be "seasonless".  I don't know about that so I'm continuing to refer to the Silk and Bloom palette, as well as the other wallpaper pieces, as part of spring 2017.

Burberry wallpaper-inspired jacket

Burberry wallpaper print tee

Burberry nail polish set
(images from us.burberry.com)

This paper is from the mid-18th century and used to imitate "print rooms".  "This was a room decorated with prints that had been pasted on to the walls, with the addition of printed paper frames and borders. It was intended to give the impression of a room hung with framed pictures. Designing and installing a print room was a fashionable hobby for the wealthy in the 1760s and 1770s. Using a wallpaper with a 'print room' design was a cheaper way of achieving the same effect. This is one of several print room papers from Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire; it was hung as part of the major redecoration of the house undertaken by Sir John Hussey Delaval around 1760."

Wallpaper, ca. 1760
(image from collections.vam.ac.uk)

Anyway, back to the Silk and Bloom palette.  Overall it's pretty and the vibrant rose color is to die for, but there are a couple details I'm not loving.  First, there's this odd rough texture surrounding the flowers.  I'm guessing it was a deliberate attempt to replicate the textural variations of silk fabric, which would make sense given that the pattern comes from silk garments, but I feel like it should be smooth - it almost looks like the palette is defective.  On silk clothing obviously this texture is to be expected, but I don't think it works on a powder surface.

Burberry Silk and Bloom blush palette

The second detail I'm not crazy about is the closeup view of the pattern.  While in other palettes I adore the zoomed-in effect - it allows you to see more detail - in this case the closeup of the flower cluster sort of reminds me of cells under a microscope (in this case, algae cells).

Burberry Silk and Bloom palette

I think the pattern works well on the clothing (and on wallpaper, for that matter), but this is one of the few that, in my humble opinion, did not translate well to makeup form.  (Or maybe I'm still cranky over not being able to snag the adorable heart-adorned First Love palette, grrr.)  Whatever it is, I vastly prefer the spring and fall 2016 palette designs over this one.  It's especially disappointing given that they could have modified the pattern to make it work for makeup - I would have gladly sacrificed a closeup view to have more of the whole pattern, since maybe then it wouldn't remind me of a biology class.  :P  Or Burberry could have chosen a different pattern entirely, like this one.

Burberry spring 2017

This single flower would be gorgeous - with a design like that, I'm envisioning the level of intricacy and color variety on par with Chantecaille's Butterfly eye shadows, and it could have with lots of shimmer on the petals like Sisley's Orchidée palette.

Burberry spring 2017

Or maybe eschew flowers entirely and do something totally unexpected, like the graphic pattern on this bodycon dress?  I bet it would make a great bronzer.

Burberry spring 2017
(images from us.burberry.com)

What do you think?  Check out the Museum's Burberry category for glimpses of previous runway palettes and let me know how the spring 2017 one stacks up in your opinion.  :)

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Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry has been on quite a rapidly upward trajectory in terms of their runway palettes - each one seems to be more eye-catching than the last.  So as soon as I got wind of their fall 2016 palette I knew I had to have it as I think it's the prettiest one they've done so far.  Sadly, there doesn't seem to be an additional red and black palette, which many makeup junkies thought there would be based on this photo.  I did a live chat with Burberry and called a store in Soho, and nobody I spoke with had any idea what I was talking about.  Now that the collection has been out for a while, I'm guessing the red and black was just a weird overlay someone decided to stick on there.  Why someone would put a different colored overlay onto such a lovely highlighter is beyond me (and somewhat cruel, leading us beauty addicts to think there would be another palette in different colors) but in any case, the gold is enough by itself.

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Once again, the print was borrowed from their most recent collection.  And once again, I was sent on a wild goose chase trying to figure out exactly which print it was.  There were many floral patterns in Burberry's fall collection, but none seemed to be the exact one on the palette.

It wasn't from these...

Burberry fall 2016 dresses

Or these...

Burberry fall 2016 dresses

They were very close but not 100% identical.  Then I found this trench coat and these 2 dresses. 

Burberry fall 2016

So that's where you were hiding!  Here's a detail to you can see it a little better.

Burberry fall 2016 dress detail

In poking around the Burberry site I also found this nail set, which borrows a vintage wallpaper-inspired pattern.

Burberry fall 2016 nail set

And just for funsies, off I went to locate the print within the clothing.  Some of the women's pieces had a wallpaper print but it wasn't the same.

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

As with the spring 2016 runway palette, the exact design on the nail set was taken from some of the men's items.  I find it a little odd that there seemed to be different wallpaper prints for the men's and women's lines.

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaperprint detail

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print t-shirt(images from us.burberry.com)

Again, I'm not sure why Burberry utilized a print that appeared only on the men's side for a nail polish set that's ostensibly being marketed to women, but I must say I enjoyed the hunt!  I'm still debating whether to pick up the set for the Museum, since the pattern is pretty and works well as an outer case.  As for the palette, well, it's easily my favorite of the runway palettes Burberry has released thus far.  I really liked the spring 2016 lace edition, but I think this one is a tad more intricate, not to mention shinier - I love the foil-like gleam of the flowers.

What do you think?  Do you plan on picking this one up?

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Couture Monday: Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

I usually don't like to post spring items until at least the beginning of March, but I couldn't resist sharing a little taste of spring today.  Burberry continues its streak of "runway" palettes with two lovely highlighters - one a rich gold, the other a bright shimmery white - embossed with a lace pattern taken from their spring 2016 fashion collection.  I picked up the white one as it seemed more spring-like to me.

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry spring 2016 runway palette

Burberry chose a leather and lace theme for their spring 2016 collection. 

Burberry spring 2016 ready-to-wear

I eagerly looked at the detail photos for the lacy pieces to find where the pattern on the palette had come from.  While it looked close to some of the pieces, it wasn't an exact match.

Burberry spring 2016 ready-to-wear

Burberry spring 2016 ready-to-wear

And then I realized the pattern on the palette is actually from the lace that appeared on several men's items.  I hadn't thought to investigate the details for the men's stuff initially, but the fact that I couldn't find the exact pattern was driving me nuts so I took a good look at them.

Burberry spring 2016 ready-to-wear

Here's the section of the pattern that was reproduced on the palette.

Burberry spring 2016 detail
(images from vogue.com)

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Burberry took the pattern from men's items, which is a tactic Paul & Joe also uses occasionally, but I do find it interesting.  I wonder whether their marketing people thought it would be more visually appealing or whether it was easier to re-create in powder form than the lace that appeared on the women's pieces.  Like Chanel's Dentelle Précieuse, I guess we'll never know their reasoning for using this particular lace pattern sure. 

What do you think?  Where does this fall for you in terms of lace-themed palettes?  I like it more than Dior's and Dolce & Gabbana's, but still not as much as the aforementioned Chanel.  I also like it more than both of Burberry's previous runway palettes, as it was more intricate than the fall 2015 camouflage palette and not quite as literal as last spring's "Rain or Shine" palette - I had to dig a little for the pattern.


Couture Monday: Burberry fall 2015

I don't think the fall 2015 palette from Burberry is quite as cute as their spring 2015 offering, but it was worth purchasing for the Museum's collection.  I may be biased because I finally fulfilled a long-time desire to get a camouflage jacket as homage to a character from one of my favorite TV shows, or it could just be my love of green eye shadow, but in any case camouflage is especially appealing to me right now. 

Burberry fall 2015 runway palette

Burberry fall 2015 runway palette

Burberry fall 2015 runway palette

According to the palette's description at the website, the print is inspired by Burberry's fall 2015 camouflage version of their bucket bag. 

Burberry fall 2015 camo bucket bag

However, the camo print appeared on many other items as well.  Here's a few:

Burberry fall 2015 camo bags

Burberry fall 2015 camo scarves

Burberry fall 2015 camo jackets
(images from us.burberry.com)

While this isn't the most imaginative use of a pattern on a palette, I still think it was the best choice out of Burberry's fall pieces, and you can't go wrong with such rich colors for autumn.  Sadly, that's all I have to say about this.  I wanted to write something profound and insightful on makeup as camouflage, but I'm pretty tired and my brain just isn't making any coherent connections right now.

What do you think of this palette?  Oh, and if you were wondering, the camouflage jacket shown in my pics is from Banana Republic - got it for 40% off!


Couture Monday: Burberry Runway palette

I thought I'd try to brighten up this grey dreary Monday by sharing a very cute palette from Burberry.

Burberry spring 2015 runway palette

Burberry spring 2015 runway palette

The palette's design was taken from a sweater and hand-painted bag from the Burberry Prorsum spring 2015 collection. 

Burberry spring 2015 rain or shine sweater
(image from us.burberry.com

Burberry spring 2015 satchel
(image from saksfifthavenue.com)

One of the inspirations behind Burberry's spring 2015 collection was vintage book covers, which is evident in both the "rain or shine" sweater and some other pieces that came down the runway.

Burberry spring 2015
(images from style.com)

In doing a quick image search for vintage book cover illustrations I could definitely see their influence in the Burberry collection, particularly the work of George Salter.  I'm not sure why Burberry decided to go in this direction for spring (plus, using vintage book covers as fashion inspiration isn't a new idea) but I'm happy to see literary themes any time of year.  :)

Getting back to the palette, I think the design works equally well on clothes and makeup.  I also liked that this was a change of pace for Burberry beauty.  I usually think of their makeup as being refined and sophisticated but at times it can get a little stuffy - they don't have a ton of what I'd consider "fun" (read: loud) colors and textures.  I was pleased to see them let their hair down and be a bit more relaxed and playful with this palette. 

What do you think?


Mad for plaid: new Burberry makeup line

Burberry is the latest fashion brand to come out with a makeup line.  I think they did a pretty good job with the packaging, albeit not all that surprising.  I would have been a bit disappointed if they hadn't put their trademark plaid to good use, and they used it everywhere.

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I like that it's even etched in the face powders and eye shadows:

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(images from nordstrom.com)
 
So while this didn't knock my socks off (they played it very safe) it was fairly well-designed and definitely in keeping with the brand's image and aesthetic.  Maybe for limited edition collections they'll do a more interesting plaid pattern or colors.