Daniel Lee’s first collection as Burberry’s creative director made his debut show for the British brand one of the most highly anticipated events among the London Fashion Week schedule.
On entering the house in October last year, the 37-year-old designer had been tasked with bringing life back to the brand, rejuvenating its heritage that had been lost under its previous creative director Riccardo Tisci. Not only that, but the show was also the first in a three-year absence from LFW, a fitting homecoming for the direction in which Burberry is looking to manoeuvre towards.
Last night, all eyes were therefore on Lee, with many wondering what his interpretation of quintessential Britishness would look like — and it seems his energised take has already been warmly welcomed. Burberry’s new path was even reflected in the attendance of coveted British personalities, such as the likes of Skepta, Naomi Campbell, Jamie xx, Edward Enninful, Shygirl and Grace Wales Bonner, who all eagerly sat front row.
The show, set in local Kennington park, opened with the classic Burberry trench, albeit with an update on the brand’s typical codes in the form of a fresh colour palette and updated cuts. Pieces that followed further reflected this design vision, with garments adorned in inflated checks, punky graphics and clashing hues that came through one after the other. Next to fitted dresses and kilt-like skirts, extravagant faux fur coats were present as well as tops and jackets intricately embellished with feathers.
Lee’s accessory angle shows promise
Lee had also already made his presence well known in the display of accessories, a category that has become a fundamental part of the designer’s codes. Shoulder bags and crossbody designs also came trimmed in faux fur and leather materials, while casual shoe styles, like equestrian boots and sneakers, further drew on the outdoor aesthetic Burberry was once known for. Each gave a glimpse into what could come from Lee’s vision of accessories in the near future.
It is clear that Lee listened carefully when Burberry’s CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said he wanted the seasoned designer to make the brand “pop” again. Akeroyd joined the company with gusto in March 2022, already stating his intention to restore its British heritage while refocusing on a new, younger consumer. With his optimism, the former Versace head also set a lofty five billion pound target, something that was seemingly unachievable under Tisci, who had steered more towards the streetwear sector.
In Lee’s proficient hands, it seems Akeroyd now has someone to rely on to realise this mission. The designer has become known as somewhat of a luxury brand saviour after his short tenure at Bottega Veneta had left a visible legacy behind, in the form of sellout accessories and a reinvention of staple garments.
Akin to his time at the Italian brand, it was clear Lee was set to approach Burberry in a similar fashion, offering up luxury items that don’t step away from the label’s identity but simply re-work it, retaining its familiarity. This had already been evident in a newly unveiled brand identity that was released ahead of the show, defined by a slew of new brand ambassadors and a revived logo — the evolved Equestrian Knight Design that was also present on a handful of runway looks.
It seems that a similar resuscitation of Burberry by Lee has already been delivered, possibly alleviating the burden of stakeholders that had been so adamant about a much needed refresh.