Riccardo Tisci’s vision for Burberry spring/summer 2021 existed on multiple planes of reality. On one hand, the show was a multi-channel experience live-streamed on gaming platform, Twitch. On the other, the collection was rooted in fantasy, drawing inspiration from a love story between a mermaid and a shark. Unlikely pairings are par the course in mythology, and with every fairytale, there exists an underdog—this season, Burberry’s accessories and outerwear seem to be the unsung heroes of Tisci’s story.
The coats, in particular, felt like a trusty return to both Tisci and the British brand’s house codes. Trenches were reimagined with dark-wash denim panels, while Harrington jackets and equestrian quilts recalled Burberry’s signature shades of beige and camel. Also of notable mention is the ultra-functional Soft Pocket Tote, styled alongside trenchcoats updated with subaquatic illustrations on the forested runway. First launched in 2019, the Pocket Bag borrows its silhouette from Burberry’s 1980s archival Michelle bag. Today, the new Soft Pocket Tote joins the Pocket Bag family with a decidedly sleeker finish with topstitched leather and invisible magnetic closures.
The references to the fictional shark-mermaid romance may seem strange at first, but the DNA of Burberry has long been tied to water. Founder Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, the first technical textile designed to repel water. This collection was a homage to that—incorporating copious doses of marine blue and seafaring influences, a newly-introduced facet to Tisci’s usual references to zoology. And for this season, it’s clear that the fantasy lies in the details.