Yesterday morning, Burberry announced that Daniel Lee would be replacing outgoing creative director Riccardo Tisci.
Tisci presented his final collection for the British house on Monday in a show that played with contradictions: classic trench coats alongside bondage-style leather dresses, oversized masculine denim brushing past feminine pink slip dresses. The funeral-like finale, which saw a sort of procession of all-black velvet evening gowns, has taken on a whole new meaning since the news of his departure.
Lee, who departed from Bottega Veneta last year, gave new life to the Italian house in his three-year directorship. Bringing with him an irreverent British spirit and teachings from Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and Celine under Phoebe Philo, he revitalised its sartorial codes, formed a cult-like following (similarly to Tisci, actually) and turned Bottega into one of the most highly anticipated Milan Fashion Week shows of the season.
Here’s what we might see in his new role.
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Lee’s perspective on Britain will be an interesting point of reference for Burberry. Like Bailey, Lee was raised in Yorkshire by his father, a mechanic, and mother, an office worker. Before he enrolled onto Central Saint Martins’ MA Fashion course, Lee admitted to not really knowing much about fashion – an outsider perspective we’d love to see him play with at the brand.
Bottega’s intrecciato weave – a technique of weaving leather synonymous with the house – was given a modern reboot by Lee, who supersized the once-subtle style to main event status on the covetable cassette bag as well as straps on mules and sliders. With his hands on Burberry’s rich archive, the classic trench coat could be taken for a turbo-fuelled update.
It’s said that Lee has a had a long-standing fascination with techno after a layover in Detroit – the birthplace of, you guessed it, Detroit techno. Originated in the 1980s by young, Black musicheads, the drum machines, futurism and fondness for Kraftwerk gave way to a mesmerising new sound. In October 2021, Lee tapped Detroit producer Moodymann to soundtrack the house’s Salon 03 collection at the city’s Michigan Theatre, where the musician premiered new music.
While much of Lee’s legacy at Bottega will be remembered for its pared-back minimalism, the most unforgettable moments were his flirty touches of seduction. For the house’s AW19 collection, Lee incorporated motocross elements in sexy padded leather trousers and jackets, with monster stomper boots for added effect. Later, he made use of latex-finished lambskin, he coated puddle boots in gold and silver sparkles, and unveiled heeled crosshatch sandals that bore subtle BDSM references.
In 2021, Daniel Lee introduced “Bottega green” to a previously muted colour palette. Like Tiffany (& Co) blue, Hermès orange and (Christian) Louboutin red, Bottega’s unmistakable green hue quickly became a signature, slapped on the puddle boot, cassette bag, shearling sliders and shopping bags – flooding our feeds in the process. As FACE Digital Director Brooke McCord put it last year: “It’s more sophisticated than Billie Eilish’s bratty slime green hue, and it’s more luxurious than the neon glow of terminal green seen in The Matrix films and splattered across ’90s rave and skateboarding ephemera.”