London Fashion Week February 2019 is now well underway, with Burberry presenting their vibrant Autumn/Winter 2019 collection on Sunday evening. The collection is an ode to youth, that still maintains the signature tones of a fashion house with a history of 163 years.
At 5 pm on Sunday 17th February, models wearing the clothing of Riccardo Tisci’s second collection at the helm of British fashion house Burberry began to stream down the catwalk at London’s most famous modern art gallery, Tate Modern.
It was March 2018 when Tisci was announced as the successor of long-term Burberry leader, Christopher Bailey. The appointment was met with much questioning and contention, which was only heightened by a change of branding and a quasi-boring new logo. However, after the release of his first collection in September, the fashion world seemed to restore their faith in the leader of Britain’s flagship fashion brand, and the lead-up to the February show was met with excitement and hype.
The show was named “Tempest” in a rather Shakespearean fashion and draws on memories from Tisci’s youthhood in London where he was a student. In an Instagram post on Sunday (which has since been deleted), the designer wrote, “I dedicate this show to the youth of today, to them having the courage to scream for what they believe in, for them to find the beauty in expressing their voice. I will be forever grateful to London for being the city that opened my eyes and mind and gave me the freedom when I was young to discover who I truly am.”
Clearly, the city to which Burberry belongs holds a dear place in the heart of the head designer, but the title of the show — “Tempest” — remains questionable. A tempest of what? In the words of the brand, the collection is “inspired by the contrasts in British culture and weather, from the structured to the rebellious,” but perhaps there’s something greater behind this word that we’re yet to discover.
Is this a direct reference to the upheaval and change that Tisci has initiated within the ancient British establishment that is Burberry? In a year that also saw the appointment of Hedi Slimane at Celine, and a greater movement away from the traditional conventions of the industry, perhaps Riccardo Tisci’s title is a reference to the winds of change which are circulating within our beloved fashion world.
The show was very much split into two; in more than one way. Jess Cartner-Morley, for The Guardian, described the guests to be split into two different areas of the show space, depending on whether you held a gold or silver ticket. Whilst one space was plush and comfortable with ‘individual upholstered armchairs’, the other area was raw and harsh with ‘scaffolding and cube seating’. As the lights of the studio went down, the theme music for the BBC’s News at Ten programme resounded throughout both of the spaces, which followed with clips of early 1990s news reports regarding the rave scene and the clash between the establishment and youth culture, a direct nod to the experiences of Tisci during his youth in London.
The bisection of the show prevailed, with the first half of the collection representing the more disobedient and outrageous. There was a heady mixture of faux-fur parkas, boiler suits, leather pants, wet-look puffer jackets and PVC trainers – a real flashback to the well-known rave looks of the 1990s. This part of the show suggested that the streetwear trend that was expected to be coming to an end this season, after almost a decade of exhaustive rue-worthy looks, may not be finished too soon.
The second half of the collection, which was a little softer on the eye and held a greater structure, played on the duality that Tisci had first represented in his inaugural SS19 presentation for the house. The gentle tailoring of the outfits in this second half played more on the idea of a return to the traditional tailoring of the high fashion industry, which was sparked by the release of a salmon-coloured suit jacket by New York-based hype-brand Supreme.
The FW19 Collection offered a lot to see, discuss, and buy, and reiterating the new Burberry that Tisci will be carrying forward into the future. The polished display of British culture from a house that has stood for over 150 years serves as a symbol of pride and unity in a Britain that is more shattered than ever before, particularly from a European designer who now calls Britain his home. This collection felt like a positive movement forward, not only for Burberry but also for the fashion industry in the UK.
You can view the whole collection at https://goo.gl/pY2LpM