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LFW: Burberry unveils SS21 with a conceptual show held deep in the forest

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Burberry on Thursday took to the great outdoors for the first live fashion show of London Fashion Week that required sterling production prowess, planning and resources.

Drones flying high above the trees recorded models navigating a forest path, opening with a girl dressed in a cotton and denim trench and thigh-high boots, closely followed by a suited trio – were they models or security? – wearing slick black and white tailoring.

A show merging fashion and art performance

Called “In Bloom,” the collection merged a conceptual version of a fashion show with live performance, created by Riccardo Tisci and German artist Anne Imhof. It was staged for a digital audience livestreamed via Twitch. Burberry earlier announced the participation of Erykah Badu, Rosalía, Steve Lacy and Bella Hadid as the show’s online hosts.

‘As humans, we have always had a deep affinity to nature. We have had to respect and rely upon its power for our very existence, whilst marvelling and revelling in its extraordinary beauty. Especially recently, we have all yearned to reconnect again. For this show, I wanted to celebrate these feelings by bringing our community together in a creative experience that takes place within the beautiful, natural landscape of Britain,” Tisci said in a statement.

The serenity of a forest as a runway was interspersed with images of a stage and sound scaffolding, a concert in the ‘middle of nowhere,’ an illegal manifestation or rite of passage as a destination perhaps. Here models were dressed in non-descript casualwear, predominantly black and white sweats, holding still poses on surfaces reminiscent of Imhof’s 2017 performance Faust at the Venice Biennale.

The collection was strong on outerwear, like a bi-coloured utility jacket, mixed fabric trench coats, light parkas, and razor cut leather coats. New bag shapes from Burberry’s B Series were also unveiled, recognisable by a white, contrast stitching, which coincided with a 24 hour pre-order sale on the brand’s website.

But where Hermès proved a digital fashion film can be serene and meaningful in one of the highly acclaimed videos of men’s fashion week back in July, Burberry was all teenage angst and complexity, compounded by a howling guitar soundtrack and the silent gestures and minimal movements of its cast. Towards the end, the artists engage in sequenced headbanging, a simultaneously uncomfortable and mesmerizing sight to behold.

Standing in a circle as an ensemble, the models and performers were disjointed beings. Despite coming together to a locale, they never fully engage with each other. The vibe of the clothes reverberated that.

Collection stills via Burberry.com.

Anne Imhof
Bella Hadid
Erykah Badu
London Fashion Week
Ricardo Tisci
Steve Lacy