“Britishness is an attitude,” says Burberry’s creative director Riccardo Tisci. We’re sitting in a duck’s egg-blue room in Westminster’s Methodist Central hall, where the designer’s AW/22 show has just finished and he’s rushing between interviews. “It’s a collection of emotional images put together in a very daring way.” Tisci himself seems unemotional, calm. He’s wearing all black, the only nod to the brand he helms a patinated Prorsum logo (reimagined for this season) bounding across his shirt.
The collection we’re here to discuss—Burberry’s first physical show since the pandemic began—was mounted as a multisensory spectacle in the palatial main hall of the Rickards-designed neo-baroque building, just a button’s throw from the brand’s Horseferry House HQ.
“We were supposed to show during fashion week last month,” Tisci tells me in Italian-lilted English, quick and soft, “because Burberry represents so much of the culture of England. But then between Covid and all the related problems—and all the big changes at Burberry with our CEO Marco Gobbetti leaving—we chose to show in London but on our own schedule, and it felt very special.”
The first half of Tisci’s co-ed offering was dedicated entirely to menswear. Models zigzagged their way out from behind a giant pipe organ and down into the attendant throng of editors and celebrities for a run of 40 looks. Before the show began, members of the crowd, clad in Burberry’s trademark blacks, beiges, and reds (the brand dressed nearly half the guests) had positioned themselves around a series of tables, immaculately furnished with Burberry-emblazoned crockery.
Jacob Elordi looked on from his densely populated table in the middle of the space as the models wound towards him from the front stage of the hall, while Adam Driver furrowed his brow at the side, as the pendulum swung towards womenswear for the second half of the show. Unlike the male models who walked before them, the women veered off the pre-ordained path through the crowd, choosing instead to walk up and over the tables, stopping briefly in the middle to pose for the cameras as a live orchestra played on both sides of the hall.