Who is Mr Burberry?
Meet fashion’s new young stars fronting Burberry’s latest launch (Oh, and Steve McQueen shot the campaign video)
June 01, 2016
British fashion power house, Burberry has a knack for plucking out young faces before they become mega famous. Remember relative unknowns Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne in the S/S12 campaign? Now, respectively, an Oscar-winner and possibly fashion’s most famous face at the moment. This month, Burberry has introduced its biggest men’s-focused launch to date, Mr Burberry, with two new faces you should probably take note of.
British actor and musician 26-year-old Josh Whitehouse and 23-year-old British model and actress Amber Anderson both star in the new campaign, shot by Oscar- and Turner Prize-winning British director Steve McQueen. Set in the heart of London overlooking Piccadilly Circus, the two young stars fall in love and roll around their apartment (and even canoodle in a bath at one point) along to soundtrack, “I Won’t Complain”, created by British singer/songwriter and Mercury Music prize winner Benjamin Clementine (who also provided the live soundtrack to Bailey’s AW16 runway show in January). It’s intimate stuff. “For the Mr. Burberry film, I wanted to convey the idea of two people who are passionately in love” McQueen says. “It’s that moment in a relationship where all you are thinking about is each other, and all you want is to be with each other.”
Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey, the creative brains behind the fashion house, worked with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian to create the new scent. The aim of Mr. Burberry was to capture the essence of the energising city of London, while keeping it traditional and elegant. A grooming line, which includes an aftershave splash, a face moisturiser and a beard oil, has been created as part of the launch, as has a ready-to-wear collection including the new Chelsea-fit Heritage Trench Coat worn by Josh Whitehouse in the campaign.
We sat down in London with the two new stars on the cusp of worldwide recognition to find out how it all began.
Congrats on the campaign. Christopher Bailey is really good at plucking out young, fresh talent — tell us a bit about how you came to be sitting here now?
Josh Whitehouse: I grew up in Chester in the UK and my mum is an artist and my dad a writer. I was always encouraged artistically and musically, so I moved to London when I was 18 to be a musician. I pursued it for four years and then I got scouted to do a modelling job while I was going a gig. The director for one of the campaigns, Elaine Constantine, asked me to do a test shoot for her film Northern Soul and wanted to know if could dance…
And could you?
JW: I was rubbish at first, but I got the part. I then trained for two years, and the film came out in October 2014 and I managed to get an agent. I ended up doing three films, Alley-cats, The Receptionists, and I’ve just finished my second lead in Modern Life is Rubbish. Then I got a call from Burberry saying they were interested in seeing me. Elaine does a lot of fashion photography, so I think her involvement in the fashion scene helped. I can’t imagine Christopher Bailey saw my band play [laughs].
You never know, he is obsessed with music…
JW: Yeah, it’s great, that was one of the most exciting things about this whole thing. [Christopher] is so involved in creativity and music so it is really lovely.
How did Christopher find you, Amber?
Amber Anderson: I grew up in the north of Scotland, in the Highlands, and was in music school from the age of 11. I had a completely different musical experience from Josh — I played classical violin and sang. I got scouted as a model by accident as well; I was so tomboyish, it was shock. I saw it as a great opportunity to get out of Scotland and go to London, make money and travel. I got an acting agent and have been working ever since. I have just finished filming something called Maigret’s Dead Man, which is a TV movie based on these old French detective novels. Rowan Atkinson plays Maigret. It’s coming out in the summer, so that’s exciting.
And you’d shot a Burberry beauty campaign already?
AA: Yes, about four years ago, I guess I was in the Burberry world, but someone told me I was on Steve’s [McQueen’s] radar as well somehow.
What has it been like working with Christopher on the campaign?
JW: He was really involved.
AA: He was there every day on set and would have lunch with us every day.
He really is the nicest guy.
AA: He is genuinely interested in you and, you know, it’s always nice because not everyone is like that in this industry. For someone in his position it’s amazing.
I guess it must have put you at ease, with the shoot being so intimate?
AA: We had three days to shoot it, so it was quite generous for an ad. It felt like there was space and time. It was fairly relaxed, it wasn’t hectic.
JW: In comparison to doing indie films, where everyone is running around with so much going on, it was an incredible campaign. The pressures are there, but in terms of actually being there for the job, it was an enjoyable experience.
AA: They were talking about how it was a first for Burberry to work with a film director and it was first for Steve to do a campaign. So we did feel the pressure.
Burberry does have a history of finding new faces that then go on to become huge. Is that expectation a burden?
AA: I am just excited for it. Of course, it’s always nice to be employed instead of at home with my cats.
JW: I think it is a great platform. I think quite often it’s about the ability to pick out people with a talent. If you take someone with talent and put them on the Burberry platform, which is global, huge, and respected, it allows someone who is willing to step forward and work for the opportunity to be noticed.
AA: Burberry also nurture you and keep the relationship going; they’re incredibly loyal, all of them. I think that is what makes Burberry a special brand to work with, you know?
Mr Burberry, the scent, is available now. Visit burberry.com
Mr Burberry, the scent, is available now. Visit burberry.com