Finding Daniel Lee in Daniel Lee's Burberry | Savoir Flair
London Fashion Week
Finding Daniel Lee in Daniel Lee's Burberry
article BURBERRY
by Grace Gordon 4-minute read February 21, 2023

Daniel Lee’s arrival as the new Creative Director of Burberry placed the heritage house back in the hands of a Brit, one who is determined to mine the house’s distinct DNA for new creative expressions.

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It’s been a long minute since we’ve seen a show with so much hype at London Fashion Week, or at any Fashion Week for that matter. Daniel Lee’s abrupt departure from Bottega Veneta – where he conquered the luxury realm with a raft of buoyant padded bags and duck-billed shoes – left many guessing where he would land next, and it took some time to find the answer – nearly a year, actually. 

When it was announced that Lee would be helming Burberry as its new Chief Creative Officer, replacing Riccardo Tisci, the heat surrounding the news was palpable. Would he work the same magic at Burberry, a house with an even lengthier legacy than Bottega? Lee had once directed the design studio of Céline under Phoebe Philo and had taken some of its artsy-lean minimalism over to Bottega. Fused with the house’s densely worked craftsmanship, he founded a new maximalist-minimalist blend that worked gangbusters for accessories. All eyes were on his new venture.

At Burberry Fall/Winter 2023, Lee’s debut represented a homecoming. The British fashion darling had returned home at the helm of a thoroughly British brand that enjoys the limelight as the cornerstone show of LFW. If you think this meant he was going to work from a certain comfort zone, you’d be wrong. Instead, Lee swung for the fences. Burberry beige, Burberry classic trenches, the Burberry check… gone. Well, not completely gone. Instead, Lee blew up the tartan pattern the house is so known for and washed it in a rainbow of vibrant hues. 


Proportions were long and silhouettes were mostly oversized, dominated by suiting and coordinated separates. Other prints emerged, favoring the rose in a technicolor array of hues. The Tudor rose, after all, is about as British as it gets. Another featured marching rows of mallards (one model even sported a whimsical mallard hat). In a place where the weather is a favored topic of conversation, outerwear was the collection’s primary focus, coming in forms both feathery and furry. These moments felt surprisingly playful, a word not often associated with Lee’s prior output, which was often artistic to the point of being arduous. 

Classic Lee moments emerged from asymmetrical canvas utility looks and a pair of multi-colored knotted dresses, which boosted the show’s commitment to color without relying on the repetitiveness of prints. They were an elegant reprieve. Like his predecessor, Lee also leaned into streetwear, with options like bomber jackets, fuzz-collared puffas, and printed tracksuits in the mix.

One clear on-ramp for Burberry is the accessories, which are Lee’s specialty. Keep an eye on those. Towering fur trapper hats might be a hard sell, but there was plenty of appeal in the collection’s huge leather hobos, furry shoulder bags, and sumptuous suede cross-bodies. Shoes were a curious mix of practical gumboots, drawstring sneakers, and sandals lined with amorphous fur pelts.

In detecting direction, the collection certainly had one, but it was hard to determine which way it was pointing. Everyone pretends to have a fashion crystal ball, but no one accurately predicted what Lee’s debut would look like, especially considering that most designers are pinned to a single aesthetic and held to it in perpetuity. He disrupted expectations.

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