What sets a house on fire? That is the question blue-chip British fashion house Burberry is attempting to answer with the debut collection of its new chief creative officer Daniel Lee. After all, in a matter of years at the helm of Bottega Veneta, the Bradford-born designer transformed a sleepy house into a waking giant — so can he do the same for another heritage brand under a new roof?
Time will tell, but his Fall 2023 collection may offer some clues. Legacy was front of mind and Lee leaned into it heavily; an abundance of trenches, capes, nova check and equestrian knights paid homage to the house’s icons, heralding a new chapter at Burberry albeit tethered to its past. Notably absent from the collection was the house’s usual palette in which Lee’s predecessor, Riccardo Tisci, immersed himself. In place of beige, Lee worked within a color scheme of eggplant, cobalt blue, mustard yellow and carmine, imbuing the clothes with a punky spirit.
In this vein, he seemed to suggest youth may be the elixir to revitalize Burberry and usher in a new golden age. To this effect, he warped and stretched the house’s famous nova check across bomber jackets and baggy trousers replete with zippered pockets. Loose, oversized proportions befitting a widespread desire for gender-fluid dressing worked in dialogue with wellies and camouflage parkas, reinstating the house’s connection to the outdoors and preparedness for inclement weather. In an apparent effort to reel in Gen Z some more, Lee also sprinkled the collection with a series of printed tees, chunky boots and studded sneakers, reflecting a real-time changing of the guard other brands have wrestled to come to terms with: ultimately the next generation will decide where this house is headed next.
In the meantime, it seems Lee is still contemplating ideas that will rival Bottega Veneta’s viral pouch. For fall 2023, he sent accessories down the runway that ranged from totes to crossbody bags, XL scarves and unexpectedly, hot water bottles. Who knows? These may be a nod to his sense of humor and quiet confidence — when Lee designs, frenzy follows and it’s only a matter of time before we see what sticks.