This evening, Burberry’s SS19 show took place during London Fashion Week. It’s a first look at the storied British fashion house with new Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci at the helm.
In the lead-up to the show, Burberry’s official Instagram teased out some archival images (as curated by Tisci) of silver spoons, pull-over pants and the classic nova check. These antiquated references heavily suggested that the label would be abandoning former CCO Christopher Bailey’s rainbow-checks and graffiti prints in favor of a more traditional style. In other words, Burberry would be returning to its roots, and it did, at first.
The show opened with a series of all-beige womenswear looks, a nod to the understated pallete which Burberry is famous for, as well as a series of Burberry’s other hallmark: the classic trench coat, which was subtly reinterpreted with tailored embellishments, straps, and an inner lining of the nova check. The key looks here were the mary-jane-style shoes, white buckled blazers, vinyl outerwear, and cow-print skirts, a coat (worn by Kendall Jenner) was detailed with gold embellishments, a throwback to the kind of rich design quirks that Tisci fostered while at Givenchy.
Similarly, for menswear, the first looks were classic, tailored, and business-like, with loose pants breaking at the ankle, in a pallete of navy, light blue and gray.
Of course, Tisci is known for his love of sportswear and streetwear, and these were revealed as the show progressed, becoming more transgressive, and intertextual. A throwback to his graphic Bambi tee at Givenchy was apparent as one of the SS19 shirts read “WHY DID THEY KILL BAMBI”. Short-sleeve bowling shirts over scuba-like long sleeves were adorned with patches, coloring the SS19 collection with a more contemporary feel. Speaking of contemporary, the fashion world’s reverence of memes and viral moments was acknowledged with off-kilter accessories like passports (perhaps a latent Brexit reference) hanging off the neck, and what appeared to be bicycle chains and locks tied around the waists of the men's suits.
One of the key looks for menswear were the shorts, which featured a deconstructed nova check, so that it was one layer of lines sitting horizontally across the leg. It’s these half nova check prints that will surely be a street style banger come next summer.
The show had a few personal notes for Tisci too. Firstly, showing at 17.00 on the 17th September is a reference to Tisci’s lucky number (17 used to appear across various items at Givenchy). Secondly, the collection was soundtracked by British trip hop group Massive Attack, whose music would have been charting around the same time Tisci moved to London to study fashion in the ’90s.
Prior to Burberry, Tisci has spent 12 years at Givenchy developing style codes of neo-religious imagery, bucolic prints and the odd rottweiler. However, if his first season at Burberry is anything to go by, we can assume that Tisci (a man who told us last year he wants to reinvent himself), is drifting away from this to find a way to bring Burberry, a brand with 162 years of history, into the 21st century.