It emerged recently that Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, would be the new face of Burberry, appearing in print ads for the high-style fashion brand. This is an impressive feat for any model, and the 19-year-old Watson should view this as a certain-sized blue ribbon in that regard.

More significantly, she will now be seen as the new face of Britain. You see, while many brands try to capitalise on their national origin, Burberry is perhaps the purest example of a fashion label that uses it’s photographic advertising to portray slice-of-life scenes from their native Britain. Outdoor, on-location photography, combined with natural tones, and an undertone of straight-laced conservatism help endorse the brand and truly British. Another remarkable feature about Burberry, at least by my observation, is that the models actually wear clothes! None of the homoerotic smut you might find from Gucci, for example.

So is Emma the right choice to represent a brand and, by proxy, an entire country? Clearly, she’s got the face, but as a relatively new entrant to the fashion world (from the world of popular movies, no less) I can foresee some sniping from industry insiders. Also, she’s much younger than the brand usually skews. Burberry is aspirational. And while many young women may save their pennies to buy a scarf or bag, it’s really for grown-ups who earn a good living and enjoy looking sharp. But being 19 in the fashion world means you’re ripe for any purpose. Youth, after all, is a commodity.

Has Burberry made a good choice? Are they continuing to represent Britain? I dare say so. *quiet applause*

Creative director Christopher Bailey told WWD, “I wanted the images to represent both the rich history and the modernity of the Burberry brand, while at the same time reflecting a quiet beauty, timelessness and strength that is particularly significant today.”

Branding press release waffle is usually pretty horrible, but that about sums it up.

more photos and details here and here »