The brand's signature check meets punk rock under the company's new designer
Riccardo Tisci's long-awaited debut for Burberry is finally here
Riccardo Tisci’s debut for Burberry was always going to be a big deal, and September 17's show at London Fashion Week was the grand reveal of his first-ever collection as head of the storied British house. To mark the beginning of a new era (Burberry was under Christopher Bailey for 17 years), Tisci has been laying down the groundwork for his new reign for some time now, hinting at new pieces on Instagram and emblazoning store windows with a brand-new logo.
Seemingly taking its cues from British culture of the past 30 years, the show opened with a trench coat (what else could it have been?) now secured with a wide elastic belt. This marked the start of a procession of sleek, pulled-together, power-dressing looks: leather pencil skirts with open-necked shirts, more trenches with crocodile panels, and cleverly cut double-waist banded trousers. Lifted by the international jet-set feel that Tisci does so well, the collection had pussy-bow blouses in Burberry stripes; leopard print under sheer blouses; fluid, floaty skirts; and tailored three-piece suits for women. Trousers were secured with scarves, while light jackets and knits were trimmed with them. The new interlocking logo was made into a print pattern on silken blouses. Even the 1980s-era puffball skirt made a few appearances. In tones of nude, caramel, pistachio and cream, this all felt reassuringly expensive.
Menswear, too, was slick, with pinstripes galore (even extending down onto shoes), while tone-on-tone suits in charcoal, grey and black had that British stalwart, the umbrella, slung - bandit-style - across backs, secured with bike chains around waists for extra manliness.
The second half of the show, however, was where things started to get more hard-edged, as Tisci allowed clearly British references to punk and street style to shine through.
Suddenly tidy suits gave way to zip through leather miniskirts, worn a with Siouxsie Sioux-era fishnet minidress. Patent heels became brothel-creeper Mary Janes, while trousers moved from expensively cut to ruthlessly carved to the body, high-waisted and adorned with images of Victorian-era ladies.
The logo appeared again, now in shades of camo print khaki, tucked under a zip through a minidress, and short coats were fastened with multiple buckled straps across the chest. The house check was echoed with oversized gingham shirts over short dresses and, elsewhere, elements of punk bondage crept in as extra straps around tops of thighs, hanging from mini skirts, shorts and, for the boys, all sorts of trousers, while tops and T-shirts were artfully slashed.
One duff note was that, given that LFW was meant to be fur-free, it was surprising to see deerskin coats on the runway, especially when followed by the clearest-yet nod to punk and the Sex Pistols: a top reading “Why did they kill Bambi?”.
Despite this, however, it was a strong show. Perhaps not the ground-shaking event we were hoping for, as it seemed to veer a little by trying to be everything to everyone. But this is Tisci, after all, so as an opening salvo, he clearly had fun showing he can handle both upscale luxe and street-base verve. With Burberry’s long and intertwined relationship with British culture, it will be exciting to see which direction he opts for.