Riccardo Tisci's first show at Burberry was easily one of the most anticipated shows of the season. The appointment of Tisci was one that had commentators pulled in all directions: was it surprising? Will a classic Burberry return? A completely new image? Lots to speculate, lots to assume. Teaser-like breadcrumbs added to the hubbub: a new logo and pattern created in collaboration with Peter Saville, a giant teddy bear in Marble Arch London and a newly decorated store. All great fodder for suspicious whispers.
Arriving into the vast and dark setting, one could feel the buzz and excitement of what was to come. New logo scarves on each seat added to the rising hum of anticipation. Just when it had reached fever pitch in the pitch black, the heavens opened, ceiling covers were whisked away and the sky shone through onto the runway. A fantastically dramatic start to the show, and a little metaphorical too.
As the first look walked out, the audience was gripped. Trim, proper, it was a Burberry trench. What followed during this first section was rather refined and chic. The quintessential Burberry check appeared on pussy bow blouse, tennis elements came into play with lightly pleated skirts, and mini cardigans, suiting and croc-skin bags all felt very British. A clever move for Tisci, this was a visual representation of the original Burberry customer, but perhaps a safe one. Heavy silk scarf usage throughout this section started feeling a little Hermès-inspired and the Victorian prints, while admirable and appropriate for Tisci to be referencing British history, were a little eerie and odd on shirt and skirt. Should the collection have ended here, I would have been more impressed; It was a smart and calculating opening segment with fantastic casting to boot.
However, what followed was an odd amalgamation of culture and style. If the opening segment was ladies who lunch, this was an odd clanging of Italian style. The male models were strong-jawed, broad-shouldered with muscle machismo who couldn’t be any less Burberry. The suiting and jumpers with odd panels across the chest were brash and not in keeping with the womenswear we had just seen. However, the umbrellas strapped across the chest were a nice touch. Both sections of womenswear and menswear for the younger generation were chaotic: butt implants on dresses, tracksuits with bright side stripes, garish leopard print, gold fringing, odd cut-outs. Sellable? Sure! But not quite right for the house of Burberry.
It was clear that Tisci was pulling all the stops to show his love for our country, particularly in such a tumultuous political time - the Royal Mail Sorting Office location, the passports around models’ necks, the Massive Attack-mixed soundtrack. It was indeed inevitable and expected that Tisci would bring his Italian influence to the house of Burberry, but this felt a little cut-and-paste. A typical British Burberry element here, a typical Tisci element there. Bar a few wonderful opening looks, the two never assimilated. Tisci at Burberry is an exciting venture, and I have hope that the two will conjoin next season.