Burberry kicked off London Fashion Week today with a rather intriguing showcase for its Spring/Summer 2021 collection. As COVID-19 has changed the way live events are carried out for the foreseeable future, the virtual fashion show was broadcasted live on Burberry's website, as well as on streaming platform Twitch.
The house's chief creative officer, Riccardo Tisci, collaborated with visual artist Anne Imhof for the event, which found Burberry experimenting with a new means of executing a live fashion show. Some viewers were confused by all that was going on, but we can't help but applaud the exploratory behavior of Tisci and company.
"It began with a thought of British summertime; embracing the elements with a trench coat on the beach mixing with the sand and the water," said Tisci. "I envisioned the people of this space, like the lighthouse keeper, and a love affair between a mermaid and a shark, set against the ocean, then brought to land."
While it's one thing to verbalize the scenario, it can be considerably more difficult to translate visually, specifically when referencing a "love affair between a mermaid and a shark." This was merely one aspect of the show that left viewers scratching their heads.
Tisci continued his explanation of Burberry SS21, officially titled "In Bloom," saying, "The collection is called In Bloom because I was thinking about regeneration, about dynamic youth, about nature constantly recreating itself, always growing and evolving, always alive. Water is a symbol of that also – of newness, freshness and cleansing. And through water, life grows – water is what allows nature to bloom. Everything is circular."
"The collection is focused and refined – one vision, one story. This is the essence of both Burberry’s identity and my own creativity. Reaffirming the codes of Burberry – my codes of Burberry, our DNA," he concluded.
The seasonal showcase provided viewers with a glimpse at a contemporary fairytale set in the ocean. It also drew from a multifaceted view of Britain, both rural and urban. Models and performers alike moved throughout the space as an ebb and flow of bodies celebrating wild and untamed human nature.
Live streamed on Twitch, Burberry's SS21 show served as the first collaboration between a luxury fashion brand and the live video streaming service. Artist and musician Eliza Douglas brought a real-time soundtrack to the event, which was hosted on Twitch by Erykah Badu, Rosalía, Steve Lacy, and Bella Hadid.
In terms of the actual SS21 garments, the clothing draws inspiration from the sea, which Burberry describes as "always beautiful, sometimes savage, invariably romantic." Womenswear subtly points to the juxtaposition of the mystical and natural, with elements of tulle and chiffon, fishnets studded with crystals, allegorical prints, and artworks. Menswear then pulls from the wardrobes of seafarers, featuring rubberized finishes, robust denim, and Thomas Burberry’s gabardine.
Say what you will about Burberry's "In Bloom" showcase, but we'd like to think there is beauty in chaos, and that such experimentation — now more than ever during an ongoing pandemic — should be applauded and appreciated.
You can watch the show below.