Burberry chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci marked his debut collection with a narrative imbued with London's punk roots and posh sensibilities.
With a slow roll-out that included a new logo and print designed by Peter Saville—the legendary graphic designer who created Joy Division’s famous Unknown Pleasures album cover—murmurs of what Riccardo Tisci would do for his Burberry debut have been circulating throughout the fashion world. But what many don’t realize is that Tisci launched his fashion career in London—he graduated from the prestigious Central Saint Martins in 1999—so his debut collection as chief creative officer of Burberry signaled coming full circle for the designer.
“I was thinking a lot about journeys as I started putting together my first Burberry collection,” said Tisci in a statement. “From my personal journey back to London 20 years after I showed my graduate collection here, to how far I have come. I was also inspired by how much London— the city that made me dream to become a designer—has evolved. This show is a celebration of the cultures, the traditions and the codes of this historic fashion house and of the eclecticism that makes up the beautifully diverse United Kingdom.”
Tisci started the show with his interpretation of the emblem of the Burberry legacy: a khaki trench coat which Tisci minimalized—adding a snap closure to one side, a wide, brown band to cinch the waist, and contrast stitching for a subtle outline. It appeared that Tisci’s first collection tried to appeal to every aspect of the British capital’s luxury market through a collection that traced London’s legacy, from its aristocracy to its punk youth, shown in three parts: refined, relaxed and evening.
The designer hit all the notes in his debut, beginning with a selection of elevated daytime looks that represented the Tisci’s Burberry woman: cool and refined, with a dash of insouciance. The second look was a sheer, collared dress, covered in the new Peter Saville-designed Thomas Burberry monogram pattern, named for the house’s founder. Five looks in, he unveiled the reinvented Burberry check on a zip blouse: vertical stripes in the Burberry colors, which would be later seen in the show as horizontal stripes. Then came a trench adorned with hoops at the edges, the ladylike pussycat-bow blouses, and a prim cream blazer—updated with reverse sleeve buttons, and a new take on the fanny pack in the form of dainty handbags wrapped around the waist with a gold chain and marked with a gilded Thomas Burberry monogram at the closure. Next came the men’s suiting, outfitted with Tisci’s touches—the famed Burberry umbrella was given a chained holster, and hung across the body; a button-up knit band went around the chest; and an trompe l’oeil pocket on the left breast of a white-collared shirt added a dose of edge.
Tisci segued into the more relaxed rebellious side of his collection, informed by the city’s punk rock roots. A tight, leather zip-up mini skirt came out, as well as a sheer, black babydoll dress with a Peter Pan collar, and a sexed-up khaki-colored bustier. British passports dangled from around the neck, perhaps a nod to the impending Brexit. An oversized Bambi print trench introduced the next look, which included a men’s Bambi print shirt that read “WHY DID THEY KILL BAMBI?,” referencing Tisci’s recent announcement that Burberry was going fur-free. The men’s looks leaned towards the new, streetwear-inclined luxury consumer with hoodies, distressed knits, graphic shirts, and tactical fanny packs.
Finally, he aimed to please Burberry’s red carpet customer with a selection of eveningwear—a series of black, minimal gowns, draped, accented with peplum waists, and elegant gold trim. Tisci’s first Burberry collection struck all the chords, with a little bit of something for everyone, giving the storied London heritage brand an update that was all his own, and with announcements of a more sustainable Burberry and whispers of a Vivienne Westwood collaboration, we can’t wait to see what else he has up his sleeve.