Burberry's Thursday night party at the Griffith Observatory was such a perfectly orchestrated high point in Anglo-Angeleno relations that the British brand's chief creative and executive officer, Christopher Bailey, were he not already overly entrenched in his several day jobs, might seriously consider a side gig in the diplomatic corps.
The first hint that no logistical detail was left to chance came with the color-coded parking passes for arriving guests -- some 700 in all. To decrease the chance of a traffic bottleneck on arrival, holders of a gold pass were directed to enter Griffith Park via Vermont Avenue, while holders of a white pass entered via Fern Dell Drive.
The true moments of majestic stagecraft began upon arrival, with the last thousand yards of West Observatory Road flanked by British and American flags angled with military precision. They continued through heavy wrought iron gates bearing the Burberry name and the date 1856, the year of the brand's founding, below a silhouette of the observatory. The pomp and circumstance continued, unabated, through a tented runway show (for more details see Times fashion critic Booth Moore's coverage) and reached a climax with a final runway turn by the First Battalion Grenadier Guards, who were flown in earlier in the week from London.
The feeling was heightened by a guest list that read like a who’s-who of power players from both sides of the pond:
Add that constellation of star power to the waving flags projected against the side of the observatory and the bestowal of gifts (the British heritage brand has pledged $250,000 a year for the next two years to the Los Angeles nonprofit Friends of the Observatory) and the bash, which marked the culmination of months of L.A. focus for the brand stretching back to the opening of Burberry's first Rodeo Drive store in November, felt like some kind of high-level, high-style diplomatic affair.
"It felt like the closing ceremony of the London Olympics," noted my companion when the whole thing was over.
Naomi Campbell's closing runway turn aside, it certainly did.