Styled to sell

It may seem odd, but suggesting that a designer might have created a collection with a view to actually selling it to as many people as possible has traditionally been seen as a thumbs-down. But in a recession-hit world, buyable is the new black.

The fashion pack has always boasted a peculiar arsenal of insults. Chief among them, nestling somewhere between "wearable" and "accessible", is "commercial". It may seem odd, but suggesting that a designer might have created a collection with a view to actually selling it to as many people as possible has traditionally been seen as a thumbs-down. But in a recession-hit world, buyable is the new black.

On Tuesday night, Burberry's wunderkind designer Christopher Bailey streamed his London Fashion Week show live on the internet and in 3D to a select group of style-watchers at hot-ticket events in Paris, New York, LA, Tokyo, and Dubai. At the Dubai show the bespectacled crowd were clearly thrilled to be playing a part in what may well turn out to be a seminal moment in fashion. Burberry claims that, alongside the select few at the events, more than 100 million people had access to the show on the internet.

Crucially, everyone who tuned in was able to order the pieces online immediately, with Burberry promising to deliver in just over a month. Ordinarily it takes six months for next season's goodies to get from the catwalk to the mall. In our straitened times, parting consumers from their hard-earned cash is more difficult than ever, and it seems that Burberry is banking on instant gratification as the next big thing. Commercial, it seems, is finally cool.

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