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Riccardo Tisci debuts for Burberry

The recap and conclusions after all the anticipation

Riccardo Tisci debuts for Burberry The recap and conclusions after all the anticipation


After months of rumors and speculations, the moment has finally arrived. Yesterday saw the first Burberry show designed by Riccardo Tisci, that closed the London Fashion Week. No big names or celebrities in the front row, only journalists, buyers, friends, and his beloved family: Riccardo Tisci wanted an understated debut, to draw the attention exclusively on the collection. 134 different outfits for both women and men, from the first more classic and ladylike looks, to more Tisci-esque looks. 

Yesterday’s show was a cascade of emotions, The first looks seen on the catwalk maintained the classic Burberry identity, sober and beige English suits, a triumph of blouses and mini skirts, vests, short and tight blazers, and low Mary Janes. Then came the Burberry man, totally in black, pinstriped, with oversized trench coats, with chain belts, silver details, and futuristic sunglasses. From that moment on the protagonists became leather, the classic shirts were played down by new graphics and the new monogram, skirts became progressively shorter and the heels constantly higher. 

What was really interesting were the details: Tisci slowly imposed his aesthetics on the Burberry universe, by matching shirts with cow printed shorts, with printing slogans (like the much-discussed WHY DID THEY KILL BAMBI) and styling oversized tees with pants. 

"I wanted to celebrate the beauty, heritage, and legacy that I discovered when I first arrived at Burberry."

Riccardo Tisci

The new creative director put on a show that takes inspiration directly from the legacy of Burberry when the symbols of the fashion house were the Burberry Tielocken (the real name of the Trench) and fall pastel colors. Tisci wanted to tell the story of the English fashion house, maintaining and renovating without dulling the identity of the brand. There is the tartan pattern but there is also the new TB pattern, there are the shirts with scarfs, but also tight leather minidress, the women of Burberry SS19 are elegant and unafraid. 



Let us start the with obvious, yes the show was very good but let's not call it a revolution. Riccardo Tisci's debut show for Burberry has been one of the most anticipated of the whole fashion week season, with many thoughts and speculations as to what the man who straddles the elegant line between street and luxury would do with a brand with quite a stiff heritage such as Burberry’s. The questions were many, would he play it safe, would he revolutionize, would he inject some street attitude into the inherent refined Britishness of Burberry, would his personal legacy shine through? The answer to almost all these questions is yes, which in its execution became the collection's simultaneous strength and weakness.

Tisci is no fool, he knew what people wanted first, win them over from the beginning and they’ll be more excepting when it gets challenging later on. So he did, he started where he should, with Burberry’s beyond iconic beige trench coat. Looking deep into its past resurrecting a version of the gigantic elastic belt that Thomas Burberry used in its original military incarnation, the silhouettes were then slightly slimmed down and modernized with well-executed details such as the neck closing clasps, and crocodile skinned storm flaps. It didn’t take long until he brought out the next icon, the Burberry tartan pattern. Subtly at first, and then more adventurous with his signature technique of mirroring patterns to make more complex whilst still aesthetically pleasing geometric iterations.

All very nice indeed, but he played a shadow game as in between came less well executed skirt and blouse combinations with unnecessary, mismatched animal prints, and a few really quite questionable cuts on dresses. Next came another much awaited arrival, the new monogram logo, which in its previews on various printed and digital media has received mixed reviews, with critics calling out its simplicity, and ‘cheap’ looking font. In practice, it worked quite well, its subtle beige and red colors blended together nicely when presented on quality fabrics with its fractal-like repetitions. The heeled shoe silhouettes were also well executed, though clearly inspired by a certain Milanese brand.

Then came the turn for the first men to enter the runway, again looking back there was a clear line drawn to the tailoring heritage of Saville Road, with clean-cut suites with slightly modernized details such as horizontal buttons that felt very Tischi-esque. It must be said that some of the jackets and trench coats were really quite amazing in their cuts and use of subtle paneled fabrics. But here is where things started to wobble, and the narrative lost its coherence. Huge clunky college shoes entered on women's feet, though very British, it was a nod that didn’t feel well placed. We knew before the show that Tischi would inject his personal idea of young Burberry, with inspiration taken from his own youthful days in London as a seventeen-year-old, where punk attitude and rebellion still laid think in the air. Here began a plethora of miss matched photoprints, mesh fabrics, slogans, and even cow skin skirts, that just felt misplaced combined with the well-executed refined elegance that had preceded it. This wasn't Burberry and wasn't Tisci, but a third entity that didn’t quite fit in. The men went the same direction, though quite quickly headed into the last anticipated territory of Tisci, his signature references to street fashion. Again a bit too heavily inspired by a certain Milanese brand, the street voice still felt like it came very much from Tisci and his aesthetic. We need a closer look at the sneakers, as from afar they looked a bit simple, but well shall reserve judgment on that for now.



In conclusion yes the first Riccardo Tisci show for Burberry was an undeniable success, and yes it was also a new dawn for Burberry as many had foretold, and thought its high points were fantastic, its low points subtracted heavily and a revolution was not made, but to be fair Burberry isn’t the brand for it. Defined by a timeless elegance, it is very hard to refresh something timeless when it paradoxically still starts to gather dust, but Tisci did exactly that. Burberry is a new language for him and Tisci is still finding his voice, but he has without a doubt elevated Burberry’s status both within luxury and street, and expect a very successful year for the legendary British brand ahead.