In early 2019, Riccardo Tisci presented one of his early collections for Burberry inside the Tate Modern. One half of the show’s attendees were ushered into a dark, grungey room, witnessing a show replete with strobe lighting, trap music, and hoodie-wearing dancers who cascaded up the walls. It was only when pictures began flooding Instagram 15 minutes later that you realised other attendees had been ushered into an entirely different room: one lined with soft pink wallpaper and plush carpets, where the lights were bright and the music was a soft violin concerto.
It was Tisci’s way of dealing with the seeming dichotomy of the Burberry brand: his role as creative director was to modernise the offering in the way he’d done for the house of Givenchy. But Burberry is a brand more rooted in its heritage than most. How to break new ground while also staying true to the venerable 165-year history? In the three years since his appointment, Tisci has slowly brought those two sides of the Burberry spectrum closer together, a blending that felt truly amalgamated in the Spring/Summer 2022 collection he presented in Paris today. The collection—streamed digitally, not staged in-person—opened with six back-to-back trench looks: sliced super-thin or deconstructed with jersey-detailed sleeves.
But those looks soon gave way to flirty sheer mini dresses in bold graphic prints, silky bralettes, leather harnesses, and catsuits with seductive cut-outs. As one model took to the runway in a structured beige trench, she turned to reveal a dramatic back cut-out, but was wearing nothing but her knickers. A sheer sequin bodysuit felt decidedly un-Burberry in the best possible way, showcasing a side of the brand that is cheekier than usual—the kind of girl who is finally ready to embrace the #hotvaxfall. And just when you thought you had the ‘new look’ Burberry pegged, Tisci fitted his models with oversized prosthetic ‘goblin’ ears, giving the whole runway a slightly absurd feeling. The mix was utterly compelling—and a reminder that Burberry and Riccardo Tisci are a love affair with true staying power.