The stage appeared set for a homecoming to tug the heartstrings, as Burberry made a much-anticipated return to London trend week after a three-year absence. Model Britain, licking the injuries inflicted by Brexit and Partygate, is nostalgic for the times of Cool Britannia with its star-studded Burberry entrance rows.
Burberry, which has been via one thing of a midlife disaster just lately – it stopped sporting trenchcoats and obtained into streetwear – is hoping to quiet down into cosy, roses-round-the-door Britishness.
It didn’t fairly prove like that. Because the evening started, all the pieces pointed to a comfortable British love-in. Company arrived to be handed Burberry-branded hot-water bottles recent from the kettle and steaming mugs of scorching toddies, and had been seated on tender test blankets.
From Stormzy to Vanessa Redgrave, Naomi Campbell to Damon Albarn, the room was filled with homegrown icons. Trenchcoats packed the benches like England shirts at Wembley. However when the brand new designer Daniel Lee’s first assortment walked down the catwalk, it was not the slick silver service of comfort-food British classics that the viewers anticipated, however one thing punkier and edgier.
The primary two fashions wore trenchcoats, however with outsized bottle-green fur collars. The home test got here in yellows and purples, zipped and chained. There have been slogan T-shirts and big trapper hats, slouchy duffel coat shapes, all-over duck prints and thick colour-clash woollen tights.
The curveball was deliberate. Lee desires to his Burberry to face for Britishness, however not the apparent sort, he stated backstage after the present. The geese, he stated, had been “very British – they’re about London parks, and the rain”. He colored his rose prints a shiny blue “as a result of roses don’t need to be pink”.
The Yorkshire-born designer, now again in Britain after slicing his design enamel in Paris and Milan, stated he needed “to rejoice what’s nice about this nation, which is that the streets are full of individuals from all walks of life. There may be nice music right here, nice theatre, nice artwork. I wish to shine a light-weight on these issues and present a optimistic facet of Britain to the world.”
Beige trenchcoats could also be catwalk crowd-pleasers, however they aren’t sufficient to fulfil CEO Jonathan Akeroyd’s formidable plan to develop the label right into a £5bn model. A trenchcoat, in spite of everything, lasts for ever, and nobody wants multiple. To maintain shareholders completely happy, the broader enchantment and better margins of purses and footwear are required.
Lee, who holds trend’s present report for reinvigorating a heritage model at report pace on the again of distinctive, sellout equipment throughout his current stint at Bottega Veneta, understands this temporary. His first Burberry catwalk was crowded with eye-catching equipment, from outsized messenger luggage to vibrant mountain climbing boots.
There was quite a bit using on this present. Burberry is banking on Lee to make the model “pop” once more after 5 years during which it has drifted into trend’s peripheral imaginative and prescient. London trend week desperately wants the industrial clout and inventive momentum that having a must-see title on the schedule brings. A resurgent Burberry is important ammunition in an influence wrestle with Milan and Paris during which London is dropping floor.
The edgy imaginative and prescient of Riccardo Tisci, Lee’s predecessor, whose varied Burberry muses included mermaids, sharks, Bambi and “Goths on the seaside”, was meant to take the model upmarket. A nose-thumb on the cockle-warming, rain-on-the-windows enchantment of Burberry’s salad days below designer Christopher Bailey, it was cool however overcomplicated.
Shoppers had been uncertain what Burberry stood for. The presence of Bailey within the viewers at Lee’s present appeared to signpost that the model is plotting a route again to his romantic imaginative and prescient of Cool Britannia. The garments on the catwalk, nevertheless, steered that there will likely be a number of extra twists within the Burberry story.