Burberry, Riccardo Tisci

Burberry re-configures its idea of 'Britishness' for AW21

Riccardo Tisci’s latest Burberry collection was an ode to the diversity of British women and “shedding archetypes and readdressing preconceptions”.

4/22/2021 1:13:00 PM

Riccardo Tisci ’s latest Burberry collection was an ode to the diversity of British women and “shedding archetypes and readdressing preconceptions”.

Riccardo Tisci ’s latest Burberry collection was an ode to the diversity of British women and “shedding archetypes and readdressing preconceptions”.

, the space was a vision of luxe trench-beige softness, a maze of blocks of different heights that the models walked over. But the collection was anything but beige. Instead, it was brighter and more colourful than usual — a “rainbow shining through the rain” as the show notes put it — and there was a sense of optimism in the going-for-gold dresses and spindly stilettos. The message: soon we’ll be dressing with a purpose, on our way someplace somewhere other than a beer garden.

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The collection was perhaps Riccardo’s most laser-focused yet, perhaps a result of its neat focus on womenswear (Burberry is now showing its menswear and womenswear separately) but also because it doubled down on a singular, recurring theme: fuzzy, fluffy shearlings and faux furs (Riccardo was inspired by the outdoor craft movements of the early 20th century) juxtaposed with sleek, sharp city-slicker dresses and coats. “I had time to slow down. The fashion business is very fast. It’s a huge company. I was ticking boxes, and I was like, ‘Okay, stop’,” he told

Vogue. Whereas his previous collections have often riffed on categories of Britishness — the lady, the vamp, the footballer, the gent — here was a cohesive vision of it, told through a concise collection of very glamorous clothes. In fact, Riccardo described it as “armour” — and what could be more British than its countrywomen putting in hair rollers for a supermarket shop, baring legs in the freezing cold and getting dressed up for a night out? “They are not afraid to challenge expectations and I have always been in such awe of their determination,” he said. “They are warriors.” headtopics.com

But where the collection felt especially prescient was in the razor-sharp dresses made from spliced Union Jack flags, the diagonal blue-red-and-white stripes of the British flag re-configured as colourful drapes and geometric bias-cut panels. Probably coincidentally, it comes at a time when the flag has become a symbol of changing attitudes and conversations about Britishness — on one hand, we’re seeing flags get

bigger and bigger in the backgrounds of politicians on daily briefings; on the other, we’re seeing them debated over during political protests and heralded as symbols of nationalism. Here, Riccardo — Italian-born and London-based — re-configured the Union Jack in myriad ways — and a cobalt dress with yellow stars nodded to an underlying context of post-Brexit British identity (the brand has been outspoken about the damaging impact of leaving the EU on its business). Riccardo took his bow in a t-shirt that read: “

Don’t believe everything you think.” Read more: i-D »

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