Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Live in Glass Houses


My favorite ad campaign of the spring: this series from Burberry, which seems to capture an essence of Britishness that is spot on target with the brand's image and intended customer.

The setting: a greenhouse, arguably the best possible hangout at an English country manor (certainly the warmest). Home to seedlings, gardeners, spiders, and of course the sons and daughters of the titled nobility, sheltering under its glass panes to escape the natter in the main house (and in the spirit of that rural classic Withnail and I--indulge in some understandable altering of mood). The fashion (seemingly bedraggled trenchcoats, and hats that look like they're sodden, even bone dry) is of course the entire point, but in that brilliant English way, here seems somehow not terribly important at all.

Only one thing is missing. Where are the Wellie boots? The black patent footwear seems too urban for the setting. And by all means not the recent crop of "fashion" wellies. Now past their sell-by, these polka-dotted, rainbowed, and otherwise overly sunny versions are streaming to a glummer end in charity shops.

In this photo, only the proper, authentic green pvc gumboots would do. Made possible by Charles Goodyear's vulcanization process, first mass-produced by the French company Aigle, made ubiquitous by hard duty in the trenches of all sides participating in WWs I and II. They're the most sensible footgear ever worn by Kate Moss, who used them to brave the mud at Glastonbury, with microshorts. Wellie boots: a classic. Garden variety? Not at all.

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