Burberry: A unicorn in Shepherd’s Bush
A giant cavalcade of limousines ferried every famous fashionista in London to Shepherd’s Bush on Monday afternoon for the biggest show in the UK calendar: Burberry.
This event marked the third runway show by Riccardo Tisci for Burberry and the first with a hefty contingent of celebrities. For the previous two, Tisci seemingly wanted a palate cleanser of celebs from his predecessor, who had sometimes provoked VIP gridlock.
Tisci had a mixed array of notables in the front-row, from footballer Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea and Bobby Gillespie, the venerable angry youth and lead singer of Primal Scream, along with veteran supes Isabeli Fontana and Joan Smalls.
Tisci has clearly been working hard at Burberry, sending out an enormous coed collection, with scores and scores of looks. Beginning with a series of pristine suits and jackets – for men and women – with piping and exterior seams made in the house’s signature muted trench brown or pale gray.
Though his big and powerful idea was a great series of silk skirts and dresses in dramatic prints – blends of elegiac florals, dashing tigers, dense forests, swinging monkeys and mischievous foxes. All trimmed with a hefty new Burberry typeface and worn by supermodels like Gigi Hadid, they had great fresh punch.
The set added lots of oomph. A giant mirrored box was hauled up into the rafters to announce the debut of the action, revealing an intricate series of massive white ceramic bowls that acted as sound speakers.
Not everything worked. There was some especially some inanely complicated daywear, most notably a very odd mannish check suit whose trouser leg hole was cut half way up the thigh, or a series of heavy shirt-blouson combinations that added kilos.
That said, Riccardo did advance the fashion dial with some excellent, jaunty tailoring, even if some of it harked back to his previous job at Givenchy in Paris.
When it came to the house’s signature item – the trench-coat – Tisci cut it uber voluminous, either in beige with an elaborate pink back for women; or in multi-buttoned white for men, like a hip hop star playing a private festival for Antarctic explorers.
The Italian designer could not be faulted for effort; however overly long collections – this one totaled 109 looks – are generally evidence of indecision. And whatever contract he signed with Burberry seems not to have included a self-editing clause.
However, Tisci did stage a great finale, with model Rianne van Rompaey looking absolutely divine in a shimmering gown made of dazzling white lace, the same material used on the show invitation, which featured the mini text: "I am a Unicorn". Before the last passages, two superlative marabou feather concoctions worthy of Marilyn Monroe at her most seductive.
Above all, there was so much attractive merchandise and accessorizing on display that this was a very impressive show. So, perhaps not actually a unicorn, but definitely a hit.
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