After a two year hiatus from the catwalk, Burberry is back, with a live catwalk show held in Westminster's Central hall in London and organised away from international fashion weeks. Creative Director Riccardo Tisci showed both men’s and womenswear, both on his own terms and on the brand’s own schedule. The collection was unveiled in a vast theatre, featuring a historic domed ceiling and a grand organ as its backdrop.
It seems that Burberry doesn’t need the structure of fashion week to prove its muscle and international importance. This is also the first collection without a chief executive, Marco Gobbetti exited the brand in 2021 and is now heading Ferragamo, and incoming chief Jonathan Akeroyd takes up the role on April 1st, after having helmed Versace.
The brand is sure to be in transition again, but whether it will be felt at design level remains to be seen. What was poignant was a sense of Britishness in attitude, a confidence Tisci has learned to hone since his time in London and a two year pandemic bridging the last show.
To start, Burberry’s presentation was hot on the heels of the announcement of a collaboration with Supreme, perhaps an informal way of introducing a new youth-led direction. This was stylistically seen in the baseball caps, logo-ed jerseys, England sweaters and deconstructed trench coats on the catwalk. The show began with forty men’s looks, all which featured Burberry’s new hybrid sneakers. There was not a classic shoe in sight. Tisci has a knack for streetwear, even if Burberry’s heritage is rooted deep and wide. Luxury brands have many narratives and customers to please and designers like Tisci must balance image, heritage and sales.
A polka dot story in the women’s collection was a clever update on the classic trench. Elsewhere the check came in tartan colours and only one of the 56 looks featured the infamous beige check: a ruffled shirtdress accessorised with a thigh-high sock boot.
On its Instagram Burberry explained London is an attitude: forward thinking, adventurous, global and inclusive. That spirit resonated in the show.
Burberry said its AW22 runway presentation will be certified as carbon neutral and that it has taken measures to reduce environmental impact in the first instance and then offset the carbon emissions associated with the show.