The debut collection of its newly-appointed creative director, Daniel Lee, roused excitement in this year’s London Fashion Week.
After a three-year hiatus, Burberry returned to London Fashion Week 2023 with a highly-anticipated show that featured its first collection from creative director Daniel Lee. Many of fashion’s biggest names attended the event—held in Kennington, South London on Monday night—to witness what the luxury brand had to offer. Some notable figures included Anna Wintour, Baz Luhrmann, Naomi Campbell, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
Guests were seated on chairs covered in plush Burberry blankets with the brand’s recognizable checkered print, and offered hot water bottles to combat the evening’s chilly weather. During the show, they were treated to an exhibition of outfits that paid homage to Burberry’s quintessentially British roots and sensibilities—but not without adding a few innovative twists.
What Makes a Brand
Burberry rose to prominence thanks to their signature checkered trench coats made from hardy, breathable, and waterproof gabardine fabric. Their elegant outerwear was an ideal choice for rainy British weather, turning the brand into a household name. However, the luxury label has still experienced its fair share of challenges despite its prestige.
For the past five years, it’s put in extra effort to stay relevant to consumers, especially with the rising popularity of its competitors. It took a hit after the departure of former creative director Christopher Bailey in 2017, a Yorkshire-born designer who incorporated a “romantic” yet undeniably British style into the brand’s visual identity, which led to its revival.
Bailey was then replaced by Italian designer Riccardo Tisci, who wanted to reinvigorate the brand through more streetwear-oriented clothing. True enough, Tisci managed to attract the attention of “a younger, more diverse and fashion-conscious set of customers,” according to an article by The Guardian.
Merging the Old and the New
Daniel Lee replaced Tisci as Burberry’s new creative director in 2022. Much like Bailey, he was born and raised in Yorkshire. As such, the designer has a firm grasp of British culture and is committed to showcasing its richness. “I really want to celebrate this country,” Lee shared to the press during the London Fashion Week show. “There is great music here, great theater, great art. I want to shine a light on those things and show a positive side of Britain to the world,” he elaborates.
In his newest collection, Lee managed to combine Burberry’s heritage style with modern sensibilities. The show opened with coats and sweaters in bolder colors, like bright yellows, royal blues, and deep purples. Oversized fits, blown-out collars, and imposing faux fur accents set the collection apart from the brand’s previous ones.
Certain pieces sported the brand’s iconic Equestrian Knight Device logo, which was incorporated into their print designs. Subtle British motifs—like English roses and ducks—also made their way into the collection’s pieces.
Lee paid tribute to the brand’s utilitarian origins, as walking boots looked like they were more than capable of withstanding an intense hike. What’s more, Burberry’s durable gabardine fabric was used in a number of pieces, from trench coats to short jackets. “The foundations of the brand are functionality,” Lee tells the press backstage.
The Promise of a Bigger and Brighter Future
Burberry’s new CEO, Jonathan Akeroyd, envisions a great future for the British fashion house. His goal is to transform the independent luxury label into a £5 billion ($6 billion) global megabrand. While this may seem ambitious, under Lee’s creative direction, it may be more than possible.
The designer has already worked with a wide range of popular luxury brands, such as Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, and Céline. Prior to becoming Burberry’s creative director, he had just come from a successful stint at Bottega Veneta. While working for the Italian luxury house, he managed to create the Pouch clutch and Cassette bag, which were both commercial successes.
Although Burberry isn’t known for haute couture bags, this may change quite soon. Lee proved this with his newest collection, which featured vibrant suede and fine leather saddlebags that struck a balance between posh and utilitarian.
It’s clear that the English designer is using everything he’s learned from his past experiences to help Burberry reach greater heights, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Banner Photo via Instagram @kaasvision.