A leg­end rein­car­nated in film – The Tale of Thomas Burberry

The Luxury Collection - - Editorial -

This is per­haps the most unique tribute paid by a brand to its founder. Burberry, the 160 year old Bri­tish fash­ion icon, has made a short-film on the life and achieve­ments of Thomas Burberry, the vi­sion­ary fash­ion pioneer and in­ven­tor of gabar­dine.

Christo­pher Bai­ley, Burberry Chief Cre­ative and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, ex­plains, “This Christ­mas, as we cel­e­brate our 160th an­niver­sary we wanted to tell the story of Thomas Burberry – pioneer, in­ven­tor, in­no­va­tor, and the man be­hind the iconic trench coat – in our own words. The film we have made is a brief glimpse in­spired by his full and ex­tra­or­di­nary life, which threaded its way through the his­tory of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury in all its tu­mul­tuous highs and lows. To do jus­tice to this story, we turned to a team of truly great twenty-first cen­tury Bri­tish tal­ent: Asif Ka­pa­dia, a direc­tor whose work I ad­mire enor­mously, and a cast of our bright­est and our best ac­tors: Domh­nall Glee­son, Si­enna Miller, Do­minic West and Lily James. We feel very proud to be shar­ing ‘The Tale of Thomas Burberry’ this Christ­mas – his spirit and his vi­sion are still at the heart of ev­ery­thing we do at Burberry to­day.”

Domh­nall Glee­son stars as Thomas Burberry. Si­enna Miller stars as Thomas’s fic­tional first love. Do­minic West plays Sir Ernest Shack­le­ton,

the pi­o­neer­ing po­lar ex­plorer who wore Burberry gabar­dine for three Antarc­tic ex­pe­di­tions. Lily James stars as pi­lot Betty Dawson, a fic­tion­alised char­ac­ter in­spired by the real life achieve­ments of Betty Kirby-green, who broke the world record in 1937 for a re­turn flight from Eng­land to Cape Town in an aero­plane named ‘The Burberry’.

Real life mo­ments re-en­acted in the film in­clude Thomas’s in­ven­tion of the weath­er­proof fabric gabar­dine, dress­ing the mil­i­tary, and out­fit­ting po­lar ex­plor­ers and pi­lots.

Shot pri­mar­ily at Shir­burn Cas­tle in Ox­ford­shire, the location served as the back­drop for the faith­fully recre­ated First World War trenches, and Thomas’s work­shop in­spired by ma­te­ri­als in the Burberry Archive. Replica gabar­dine tents, made at Burberry’s Castle­ford fac­tory in York­shire, were cre­ated for the ex­plo­ration scenes.

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