Burberry RTW Fall 2022 – WWD

It’s the 16th day of the Russian war in Ukraine, so how does a luxury brand organize a fashion show? In Paris they answered the question in different ways and in London Burberry came up with their own answer.

The brand staged the show in the imposing and austere Methodist Central Hall, opposite Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. There was standing room only – for everyone – and even though there were VIP guests – including actors Adam Driver, Rebecca Hall, Jacob Elordi and Eiza Gonzalez, and models like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell – there was no front row.

Instead, everyone crowded into the building’s vast central hall with its towering organ pipes and, in the balconies, a 100-person choir performing live, accompanied by the London Contemporary Orchestra. The models didn’t have much of a trail: instead, they walked under the organ pipes and through the disorderly crowd of guests. Some climbed onto tables that had been set with crystal, silver and Burberry-branded plates.

It was impromptu, democratic and sober. On the runway, the glamor was understated and the clothes were solid and sensible: Riccardo Tisci made strapless ball gowns with trench coats; dotted crystals and embellishments on chunky, boxy wool sweaters, and sent swishy plaid skirts that looked like they’d been pieced together from a closet full of kilts – no waste here!

Outerwear didn’t make sense either: cape and swing coats were loose corduroy, quilting or faux fur, while high-heeled boots were snug and disappeared under skirts like a pair. hot pantyhose. On the men’s side, duffel coats, quilted jackets with sleek cinched waists, puffer jackets and aviator styles all recall Burberry’s history as a manufacturer of uniforms for British soldiers.

Menswear kicked off the show, with models wearing hoodies under their bespoke suits, rugged jackets and rugby shirts. There was a strong smell of the English countryside, and all those old aristos getting by in their stately stately, but often cold (presumably colder now, with rising energy prices) mansions.

Tisci had hinted at the collection’s handcrafted feel with the show’s invitation, a needlepoint frame that read “Thank you very much,” a reference to old-fashioned English politeness, and the designer’s own gratitude for the opportunity to stage a show in front of a live audience after two difficult years of COVID-19.

The designer was also grateful for the hugely popular Supreme x Burberry collection, which caused sidewalk traffic jams on shopping streets around the world. “Kids love it. America, England, I can understand, but China, Japan – they’ve gone crazy,” Tisci said, adding that the sales figures were huge.

For Tisci, this season was all about the power of the crowd. With this show, he wanted to “bring people together and send a family and community message. I wanted to show that people can come together to change the world and that creativity can generate positivity.

He didn’t mention Ukraine, but he didn’t need to.

A few hours before the show, Burberry revealed that it had increased its donations to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, and which it also donated to Save the Children and UNICEF. The company said that in addition to financial assistance, it was looking at how to leverage its global supply chain to provide food, shelter and warmth to displaced communities.

Burberry was one of the first British companies to end its business with Russia, close stores and face losses in the region, which generates around 2% of its sales, according to a report published today. last week by Morgan Stanley.

The company is also in line with advice from the British Fashion Council, which has taken a hard line on the issue of fashion trade with Russia, asking the industry to condemn the invasion and respect UK government sanctions. which prevent product shipped to the region.

It must not be easy for any of these brands to walk the tightrope between commerce and compassion, but Burberry seems to pull it off. It proves that life goes on, and so does commerce, and that creativity (as corny as it sounds) could actually be a force for positive change.

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