On a characteristically drizzly Friday in London, Burberry gathered a crowd that included Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Adam Driver, Rebecca Hall, Dixie D’Amelio, and Jacob Elordi, to present artistic director Riccardo Tisci’s latest collection—the brand’s first live show in two years.
Guests, many of whom wore various versions of the house’s signature trench coat, arrived at midday and filed up the stairs of Central Hall Westminster, where they were welcomed with coupes of chilled Champagne, tea sandwiches, and caviar.
Gigi and Bella Hadid, both of whom walked in the show, were seen arriving in full Burberry looks: Bella in a head-to-toe plaid streetwear ensemble, and Gigi in a classic black trench that set off her new platinum locks.
Kate Moss outside Central Hall Westminster
After mingling on the mezzanine, attendees were directed into a dark, cavernous performance hall, where a hush overcame the group as everyone tried to figure out where we were and how best to navigate the unlit space. Scattered throughout the room were round tables laid with Burberry-branded place settings, but without any chairs around them. A couple of guests bumped into the edge of a stage, where eventually spotlights illuminated the first model as he descended a staircase in front of a massive organ. From two balconies above, an orchestra began to play, joined shortly after by a 100-person choir.
A curated men’s collection came out first, featuring bejeweled baseball-cap-headband hybrids, lots of sumptuous sportswear, and a deep, sophisticated color palette applied to staples that honored the house’s history as a purveyor of practical outerwear, like quilted Harrington jackets paired with matching skirts. A few unexpected faces modeled the clothes, including the Italian musician Mahmood and the boxer Richard Riakporhe.
Then the women emerged, decked in a glamorous array of British chic, ranging from avant-garde versions of coats and jackets designed to brave all manner of weather, to glittering evening ensembles. “I wanted this collection to... celebrate not only coming together, but the city in which we come together today; the city in which Burberry grew and established a family,” Tisci said. “To me, London is a place of dreams, a capital building on its heritage and unified by its diverse community and an attitude of moving beyond boundaries—of pursuing limitless potential.”
This being Burberry, there were many creative, occasionally surreal takes on the trench and its motifs—among them a series of tan gabardine gowns, one with two rows of horn buttons down the front, another cinched at the waist with a matching belt. There was also a trench-inspired jumpsuit, a trench with an image of another trench screen printed onto it, and a sumptuously pleated coat in a lovely micro plaid.
Also in the mix: more headband-caps, earrings made of ribbons tied in neat bows, face jewels, and a rainbow of excellent round-toe thigh-high boots that are sure to be seen on every fashionable foot come this fall.
After each model crossed the stage, she walked into the crowd and then, with a little help from a hidden step and an outstretched hand, ascended onto one of the tables, where she posed: a living centerpiece. Irina Shayk, in an all-black quilted look fit for a Bond villain stalking the grounds of a country estate, stood tall between the cut crystal glasses and silver saltshakers; Bella Hadid, in a sheer black dress layered over an orange polka-dotted bodysuit, was all business; and Mona Tougaard closed the show in a fabulously fluffy feathered gown, looking, as she stood on the table, like a gala attendee who was about to make a momentous speech.
Then, the lights were out again, and we emerged back into the drizzle with our now very ordinary-seeming trench coats cinched tight.