Riccardo Tisci’s AW22 co-ed Burberry show was all about knuckling down on themes of Britishness, untangling what that means at a time when we arguably couldn’t be more divided. The brand’s first physical show since the start of the pandemic took place at Central Hall Westminster in the heart of London, to the tune of a live performance by the London Contemporary Orchestra. So far, so very British.
The house’s womenswear offering included Burberry’s signature trench coats pierced with silver rings, while the brand’s iconic check was newly embellished with rigid, folded trims. Carrying forward this season’s sense of rebellion at shows, punk-influenced, skin-tight mesh tops, majestic pleated skirts and diamond encrusted knitwear followed, all before luxe bottle green checks and trench coats as dresses.
It was Tisci’s turn to playfully subvert the long history of Burberry, integrating elements of British subculture into garments that might otherwise feel, well, posh. His menswear was more subtle in its execution of this – pierced knitwear, off the shoulder coats, massive puffers – but Tisci still remixed classic pieces into something more offbeat. Cotton shirts were given hoods, jackets had cinched, feminine waists and rugby collars were laced up with ribbons.
By exploring the many opposing strands which constitute what it really means to “be British” these days, Tisci brought together themes of city versus country, pageantry or punk, pulling from Burberry’s archive. He used an oak leaf crest and equestrian knight design, for instance, to propose a brand-new style of dressing like a Brit in 2022 – and it’s different to anything the historical British house has ever done before.
“It was important for me to explore what it means to belong, how our roots influence our identity and how the power of community and togetherness is what truly brings meaning to the world,” Tisci wrote in the show notes. While unity can often feel out of reach as the world grows ever more divided, Tisci’s message of banding together felt all the more poignant.