Burberry: The Establishment meets the street
Riccardo Tisci took his audience into a giant tank underneath the Tate Modern along the Thames for his second show for Burberry, as he continues to excavate British culture to find inspiration.
The result was a powerful co-ed collection that mixed up streetwear with more prim bourgeois looks as the designer grappled with what it means to be Burberry. Though 44-year-old Tisci tended more to reference the London of his youth when he visited as a teenager and was a student at Central St Martins fashion college.
Like the England of his youth, there is still a strong class structure, reflected too in this collection which began with lots of streetwear, some of which riffed on the club era of 90s London.
He opened with bold graphic clubbing gear; notably a chopped-up black and white shearling coat with the address of the brand’s headquarters on Horseferry Road in huge letters; track pants with mega vertical stripes and even a black leather puffer jacket with a giant Union Jack padded cape.
"Back in the 90s there were a lot of raves. Techno and big jackets and track pants. I was very lucky to be here then. The moment of Leigh Bowery, Minty, Boy George and Björk," explained Riccardo in the backstage.
He anchored the whole first half in booties with faux galoshes. And he played with the brand’s signature plaids, including an oversized trench-coat with storm flaps that was over-painted in red daubs; and a great patchwork plaid puffer for dudes in mixes of beige, yellow and red. Lots of tony athleisure with the new signature TB logo, like the one Riccardo had on the T-shirt he wore when taking his bow.
Like in his previous life at Givenchy, many in the cast had chola girl intricate tough-chic hairstyles, in particular Gigi Hadid who looked like a street vixen. However, Tisci ditched that look when the collection moved uptown, sending out ladies in prim chignons. The soundtrack was by M.I.A., though pre show there was a nostalgic mood, as the DJ played tracks by Cream.
In an elaborately long collection, Riccardo riffed on deconstruction – with trench coats cut open and finished with shards of animal print-silk. Like in his overly long debut in September, Tisci’s favorite color was raincoat beige, used in some beautifully draped cocktails and evening gowns.
The audience was divided into two halves: gold and silver. "One was the Establishment and the other more the street," he laughed.
Gold guests sat in a grand mahogany plywood auditorium with plush armchairs and a dead straight runway; silver guests perched on blocks in a huge circular tank with a twisting catwalk and a set finished with steel girders. Over these clambered hundreds of teenagers throughout the show. Though, quite frankly, nobody was terribly impressed by the decision to get all of these kids to clap loudly for several minutes at the finale. Call it the fashion equivalent of canned laughter.
"They represent Freedom! Kids don’t have the voice they used to have 20 years ago when I was a boy in London. When society gave more chance for you to express yourself. I am about including and not excluding. From the Queen to the street to, shall we say, the more educated," said Tisci in the concrete backstage.
"This is the book I want to write with Burberry," concluded Riccardo, who will start retailing some of these clothes already next month. Under the direction of new CEO, and fellow Italian, Marco Gobbetti, the house has introduced monthly product drops
The latest new mini Title bag even became available immediately following this show, exclusively through the brand’s Instagram, WeChat, Line and KakaoTalk platforms for 24 hours.
Things are certainly on the move at Burberry both uptown, and downtown.
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