Sep 17, 2020
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Hard-edged, performance-art chic by Burberry opens London Fashion Week

Sep 17, 2020

Hard-edged chic at Burberry; where a cool cult met for an alternative ceremony inside a soaring forest, in a work of performance art created by Anne Imhof and unveiled Thursday lunchtime, for the opening event in London Fashion Week this season.

Burberry - Spring/ Summer 2021

The cast, some of whom arrived in a classic silver Rolls Royce, others marching through the dappled light of the forest. Before all gathering inside a circular stage set, where lone singer guitarist and singer Eliza Douglas kicked in, with giant guitar chords and keening;  followed by intense industrial droning.

Lots of volume as well in this season’s silhouettes from the house’s Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci – from the taiga green leather double-breasted coats to some marvellous enveloping parkas in techy patchwork, some completed with all-seeing eye; or New Look trenches overlaid with denim jackets. Other parkas were finished in a waxy marble; most were paired with piratical boots. All about cut-outs at Burberry in this spring summer 2021 collection; with chopped-off shoulders and large circles cut scissor-like into raincoats.

At the finale, silver sequin evening looks with semi-sheer and saucy attitude - all watched over by a score or more of mock security guards in impeccably cut suits, topped by austere logo shades. Otherwise, the guys in this co-ed show appeared in lots of all-orange workerist looks, on attention-seeking manoeuvres. Though the color palette was essentially made in teal, silver, white and black.

Burberry - Spring/ Summer 2021

This beautifully edited cast marched through the forest, weaving between ferns before all meeting in a clearing, where a gang of youths perched on a high trellis; dry ice blowing gently through the scene. Adding to the sense of ceremony, church bells tolled at the end, as the mist drifted up into the cathedral-high forest canopy.

To greet the cast as it eventually formed a circle, a squad of dudes, in all-white, even their Vietnam vet boots, who then started letting off bright-orange flares. Dozens of camera angles, but no obvious cameramen, as the action swirled around the forest in the ritualized setting from Imhof, a Berlin-based artist, who represented Germany at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, where her performance piece Faust won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

Pre-show, on Twitch and Instagram one could enjoy a morning discussion on Burberry and Riccardo Tisci’s influence hosted by Erykah Badu, bedecked with endless rings, chatting with Bella Hadid, Rosalia and Steve Lacy.

Burberry - Spring/ Summer 2021

“Y’all out there who are watching. You are now part of the Burberry squad!” enthused Badu, before the camera cut away to a giant series of mirrors where models were gradually getting dressed. Like Mariacarla Boscono pulling on a muddied tie-die dress with an all-seeing eye.

The house had already teased the show concept on Instagram, where singer Eliza Douglas performed her tracks Half of Freud’s Books and DNA, interspersed with images of scary contemporary robot weapons.

Burberry’s ceremony ended as the white-clad locals started wrestling matches, some collapsing on to the pine needles as a tracking camera followed their every move. At times, groups of guys jointly carried a fallen hero, Christ-like, on their shoulders. As in earlier shows by Tisci for Burberry, gangs of kids gyrate and emote for little apparent reason.

This carbon-neutral show did not perhaps suggest an enormous amount of social distancing. But as a fashion statement it packed plenty of punch.


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