The world has been waiting to see what Daniel Lee would deliver for his Burberry debut, which closed out London Fashion Week’s fall 2023 season this evening. Lee, the former Bottega Veneta creative director who shot the Italian label to commercial success, caused ripples of shock when he suddenly left the brand in 2021. He joined Burberry following Riccardo Tisci’s departure in September 2022—and quickly piqued fans’ interest with an exciting taste of what was to come. For starters: a raw campaign shot by Tyrone Lebon featuring Vanessa Redgrave, John Glacier, Shygirl, Lennon Gallagher, Liberty Ross, and Jun Ji-hyun, and a new logo reinstating the equestrian knight first seen in 1901.
Lee definitively transformed Bottega Veneta into an “It” brand—and his debut for Burberry brought the same kind of energy. The show took place at St Agnes Place, a street in Kennington, South London; there, the designer presented an exploration of archival, blown-up checks, along with an ode to absolute, intrinsic Britishness. The check motif was expanded through oversize checkered dresses, plenty of trench coats, suiting with a punk disposition, and head-to-toe prints on bright tights and massive scarfs. Chubby furry collars (Burberry went fur-free in 2018), utility pockets on outerwear, and fuzzy trimmed bags underscored the collection.
But what made Lee’s first outing for the house feel most exciting was the nod to personal style and individuality. The designer was looking at the archives and all things British for inspiration, but the color palette and styling spoke volumes about a new generation of individualists. Models were piled with accessories that each felt personal—and somehow, the real gems didn’t get lost. While clutching coats and holding onto their purse straps, they wore silver chains, giant scarves, and messenger bags with mismatched faux animal tails. The oversized messaging dominated in more-is-more in layers: massive trapper hats, yellow fur-trimmed coats, big pants, belts artfully thrown over coats, ear muffs with sunglasses, and bathrobe-like blanket coats swallowed the models in a British magpie maximalist fantasy. The collection was fluidly coed, and campaign stars including Redgrave and Ross sat front row on checkered blankets with hot water bottles.
In this collection, it was easy to spot odes to culturally relevant British references: chavs, punks, and even hunting (à la a knitted duck-shaped hat and coats trimmed with incredible amounts of feathers). English roses decorated dresses. Wellingtons peeked out from beneath bundles of fabric, a symphony of mismatched prints. The new take on the Prorsum equestrian knight design was printed onto capes—but it wasn’t just for logo’s sake. You had to look twice to notice it.
Lee has a history of turning out covetable accessories and next-level outerwear. At Burberry, there were objet d’art shoes that manifested as puffed sneakers and fluffed-up fuzzy heels, knitted water bottles covers (the next “It” accessory, we’re calling it now), and blanket coats for every cool kid. Scarlet mixed with deep navy, and the royal purples with daffodil yellows applied to garments were more like something we might see from Miuccia Prada pre-Raf Simons. Every piece here played with opposing color palettes and avoided playing it safe—a move unlike anything we’ve seen from Burberry in years. And that’s a good thing.