Riccardo Tisci has unveiled his first collection for British fashion brand Burberry since his announcement as the brand’s new creative director back in March. When the announcement was made, many quickly began speculating what he would do to the British fashion heritage maison. Many bets were put on his love for glam rock and Gothicism, as seen in his years at the French fashion luxury house Givenchy; others on his natural and intuitive take on the millennial generation and that this would stir things up a bit in the West London stable dresser. Finally, some set their hopes up for him to keep promoting diversity through his work. Most of it was fulfilled.
The collection was presented in five turns, each very different in terms of style. The first one was an homage to the brand’s central historical DNA. Beautiful models with skin slightly glowing and neatly tied knots carried classic work-wear silhouettes in a palette of beige. Very British and very posh in their just-above-the-knee plissé skirts and buttoned-all-the-way-up silk shirts. When his respect to brand was paid, the men found their way onto the catwalks. Firstly, they came in pinstriped suits accessorized with chains, then in classic grey and camel but with a slight hint of sport, finishing up with “a bit of everything”-look. The two primary presentations of the show were respectful and loyal, but the creative goods were to be found in the last three rounds. Third and fourth round were for the millennials and the post-punks, and in their honour ‘trend’ was the key word. Polka dots, transparency, checks, logomania, wide belts, off shoulders and so it went. It may had been a bit of a tedious affair had it not been for the minor obscure (thank you) references to Shakespeare, Disney and (because, well, Britain) Queen Victoria. For the fifth and final round, evening gowns floated down the catwalk, all elegant and black like the ones in a real Dame’s closet.
The collection was a fine start-off collection, and considering the brands massive commercial function, and therefore Tisci’s slightly tied hands, I believe he did very well. It was no rebel-collection, but then again, it wasn’t supposed to be one. He made it all around the clientele with ease and still got to put his mark on the collection with the Queen Victoria prints and the punk rudiments. The punk element shouldn’t be underestimated. Britain is very punk, but Burberry is not. The incorporation of it in the collection was a smooth way to rebel, just a little, and it was the take on the millennials that many predestined him to take. However, that is not carrying the fan of diversity: punk is not very alternative nor political in the UK today, but let’s not forget that it once was. Punk was a way to express precarity and social inequality. Though, there was a minor political commentary regarding Brexit – some models had British passports in chains dangling and rattling from their necks – the manifestos were few and quietly spoken, not very Italian like the man behind them, but I don’t suspect him for settling in. Quite the contrary.
Words by Mathilde Nielsen