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Behind The Smoke And Mirrors, It Was Burberry’s Most Honest Collection To Date

Behind the smoke and mirrors, it was Burberry’s most honest collection to date

Riccardo Tisci’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection ‘In Bloom’ was brought to life amongst the freedom of the British outdoors through a powerful live performance – a creative collaboration between Riccardo and world-renowned artist Anne Imhof.

As the first luxury brand to partner with Twitch, Burberry created a unique show experience for a digital audience in unprecedented times, hosted by Erykah Badu, Rosalía, Steve Lacy and Bella Hadid.

“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. 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. The circle is hugely symbolic – regrowth, renewal, the circle of life. 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”, says Riccardo Tisci, Burberry Chief Creative Officer.

The collection presents a modern mythology, a contemporary fairy tale. A multifaceted view of Britain – simultaneously rural and urban, spanning earth and ocean, always expressing freedom.

Riccardo Tisci spent his lockdown gardening and cooking with his 92-year-old mother in their family home near Lake Como. “It’s the first time in 21 years that we spent three months together. It was amazing,” he said on a video call the morning of the show. Dressed in a lumberjack shirt, he was headed to an undisclosed forest outside of London. There, under the canopy of nature, every feeling that had washed over the designer during lockdown was released in an ominous performance created by the artist Anne Imhof, while Eliza Douglas sang at the livestreamed event. Staged sans audience, the tactile performance that ensued could easily make you forget we were in the middle of a pandemic.

“Even though I was happy to be with my mum, lockdown was a scary moment of loneliness,” Tisci explained. He expressed those feelings in creations that forewarned trouble at sea: stark rubber coats, I Know What You Did Last Summer sou’westers and overalls, and tops trapped in ornate fishnets.

That, of course, is reading into it. This was a collection emotionally defined by the show that framed it. Behind the smoke and mirrors, it was Tisci’s most honest collection for Burberry to date (and one he called his “strongest”), and a more natural meeting between the “classic” and “street” elements he has previously been splitting into categories. It was also his most painterly proposal for the house so far. “Blue is the new beige,” he teased, name-checking Burberry’s signature color.


“Being scared made me realize how lucky I am to do this job,” Tisci said. “I want to be more creative. I want to give the best of myself. In the beginning, you want to get to a level you want to get to. When you get there, you’re working towards stabilization. But this was a wake-up call: Let’s do our best.”



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