Within Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry universe, sheer wonders, architecturally detailed outerwear, and accessories with a punkish edge come alive. And for spring 2023, that vision was carried out once more, with Naomi Campbell and Bella Hadid walking the runway.
The London Contemporary Orchestra, whose members wore black baseball caps and suits, performed a specially commissioned piece by Paul Mealor while guests filed into the warehouse-like venue. The brand rescheduled its initial show in honor of the queen’s passing so that it occurred after Milan Fashion Week and immediately before Paris. With soprano opera singer Nadine Sierra’s haunting singing echoing throughout the space, models walked into the stark, industrial space from a bright, white light. There were elements of heaven and angels and, in general, lightness, at play. On one side of the collection, there were floaty negligee slip dresses reworked as classic button-downs; on the other, militant structured pieces that looked almost shield-like. Tisci stated he explicitly decided to experiment with different sides of British culture, and all of its inherent subcultures seen on the beach.
The designer is a master at playing with subtle revelations of skin, and this collection had it all: bulky leather biker jackets with cut-out skirts and matching underwear; chunky, sculpted necklines that pulled back around the collarbone; transparent layers under harness-like tops. Various states of dress and undress were revealed through clear paneling and diaphanous layering.
The concept went beyond underwear as outerwear. Tisci took inspiration from beach dressing and the various forms of liberation that come with it, breaking down the barriers of everyday staples and twisting them into subversive shows of tension.
“In summer, in Britain, the beach is a place of democracy, of community,” Tisci wrote in the show notes. “It is where people from all cultures can join together in simple pleasures. I wanted to translate that ideology—that emotion—to an entire collection. I wanted to express that spirit of togetherness and joy, that reality.”
Although the show felt like it could have been a swan song of sorts, with rumors swirling that Tisci’s contract is coming to an end, it also felt like a celebratory parade. Viewing the show outside of the noise of London Fashion Week put even more of a focus on it. This collection also made it apparent that Tisci has created a body of work at Burberry that is very much representational of London and all its edge, plus his own unique aesthetic—even if the collection did have many different angles going on at once.