09/16/2013 01:23 EDT | Updated 11/16/2013 05:12 EST

Sheer lace and rose petals: Burberry Prorsum whips up pastel romance at London Fashion Week

LONDON - There was an annoying downpour outside, but inside Burberry's runway show at London Fashion Week there was no need for an umbrella: It was just raining fragrant rose petals.

All was romantic and cozy on Monday at Burberry Prorsum's spring preview, a graceful collection of feminine lace dresses, sheer floral print pencil skirts, cashmere cardigans and organza shirts in pastel shades of rose, mint, lavender and cornflower blue.

Designer Christopher Bailey said he wanted to create a "soft, gentle and kind" mood with the collection.

"I wanted everything to feel like you are being enveloped in fabric," he said backstage after the show. "I wanted the collection to feel romantic, I wanted people to feel warmed by it."

The colour palette and textures may be sweet and dreamy, but there was also a sassiness and a sexiness to the designs. Bailey, who has been at the brand's helm for more than a decade and has overseen its transition from a fusty label to arguably Britain's most successful fashion house, added that he was aiming for the sensuousness of being wrapped in a soft blanket in the nude.

That played out on the catwalk as models wore nothing but loose unlined wool coats in simple clean shapes. Elsewhere, Bailey dialed up the sex appeal with head-to-toe see-through lace outfits, though he assured customers that the retail versions will be less risque.

"We will definitely put a lining in lots of clothes, so you still get the same effect but it may be a bit less transparent," he said.

Burberry may be best known around the world for its military-inspired beige trench coats, but those were nowhere in sight. In their place there was a slim-line lavender lace belted coat, light jackets with rounded shoulders, and outerwear that only hinted at the trench with details like gun flaps and epaulettes.

The collection ended with a series of opulent evening coats and pencil skirts embroidered with huge colored gems, which Bailey said were inspired by bright dew drops on petals. The final look, worn by model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne, was a clear plastic jacket adorned with silver gemstones.

Burberry's show is London Fashion Week's glitziest production. On Monday it drew celebrities including singer Harry Styles and actresses Naomie Harris and Sienna Miller to its front row along with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Top Shop boss Philip Green.

Many in the audience said they admired the collection, though not everyone was so taken with all the pastel and fluffiness.

"It reminds me of ice cream," said Hayley Shepherd, 19. "It's nice and refreshing for a change, but the pink does get a bit too much."


Associated Press writer Raphael Satter contributed to this report.