The new collection by Riccardo Tisci for the English brand has no fear to expose its underground soul

Words by: Gianmarco Gronchi

Editing by: Domenico Costantini

Milan Fashion Week is just finished, but floodlights have already shifted to London. A desert landscape by the Millennium Mills in East London’s Royal Victoria Docks is the ideal setting for the new Burberry collection by Riccardo Tisci. If you are thinking about classical sartorial cut trenches suitable for your daddy, we are afraid that you will be disappointed. In fact, the previous Givenchy creative director, after three years from his arrival in Burberry, seems finally able to hybridize the historical identity of the brand with his strong creative imprint. 

The final result is a collection that abandons the safe paths of the maison’s heritage to embrace a tribal identity. 

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On the musical background by Shpongle – one of the landmarks of English electronic music – a parade of models that seemed to have just come out from Mad Max or Dune.

Tisci focused on just few colours – white, black, beige, red, with just few hints of sky blue – to create suitable clothing for a tribe of contemporary clubbers who comes together at a party. 

Tisci inspiration from the post-punk and rave subculture of the early ‘90s is clear. The digital presentation shows models with orange hair and piercings on the face arriving at a rave party, and Tisci’s ability was to create pieces in which everyone can find his own individuality while recognizing in the collective identity of the group at the same time. There are oversize shirts with cut below the elbow sleeves, but also without sleeves. Pants fill with straps, resembling the stereotyped raver look. The oversize t-shirts have stylized skulls printed on them, but nothing is excessive.

Burberry’s 2022 tribe is a happy oxymoron: it is minimal yet awe-inspiring, aggressive yet seductive. What we could not miss are the trenches, that in Tisci’s hands become the meeting point between the iconicity of the English brand and a non-trivial streetwear attitude. The fundamental elements of this garment are broken down and reassembled, in a powerful and balanced synthesis. And that is how the sleeves are cut off and the raincoat becomes a vest to be worn over tight tank top. The cape passes from the back to the front, the pockets are shifted and a series of straps on the back evokes those skeletal silhouettes dear to the Italian fashion designer. The lines are straight, rigid, with no frills whatsoever, and those creations looks like armours in which everyone can assert their right to be as they are. 

Even the female wardrobe acquires dark nuances. Greek shoes, metallic dresses and transparent plastic fabric trench coat seem to be perfect for the woman who wants to live modern life with no fear or shame of her own body. 

This collection shows how it is possible to preach a new word without distorting the essence of a historical brand like Burberry. The stylistic elements that Tisci has taken with shrewdness from streetwear and has wisely grafted into the DNA of the British maison seem to be a fruitful solution for the future. We wonder why the Italian creative director did not take this path earlier. Certainly, confronting such a glorious and, in some ways, cumbersome past, like that of Burberry, is not easy for anyone. Nonetheless, now that Tisci seems to have found his most authentic dimension, it is clear that we will look at the next collections with great curiosity.