As contradictory as it sounds, a period of instability can have an edifying effect. Unpredictable things that happen that shake our confidence in ourselves, our communities, or the world around us can spur us to look more deeply inward, to keep that which we truly cherish and discard that which we do not.
It’s safe to say that very few people had an amazing year, and Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci is among those that suffered loss. His beloved mother Elmerinda, to whom the Burberry Spring/Summer 2022 show is dedicated, passed away in August. He also bid farewell to his trusted adviser, Burberry’s CEO Marco Gobbetti, who left the brand for Salvatore Ferragamo in June. These seismic events have recalibrated Tisci’s creative vision, and he has emerged more confident, more assured, and more secure than ever before. As the saying goes, the purest gold is refined by the hottest fires. With one of his most brilliant shows ever, his Spring/Summer 2022 collection proved his newfound strength.
Dubbed “Animal Instinct”, the collection investigated the transparent communication of animals as reflected in their ears. Tisci’s obsession with Disney’s Bambi is well-known, and has seeped continually into his work at Burberry. The fawn-like ears that the models wore in the show reflected the way animals “talk” with their ears; for example, ears pulled slightly down might show hesitation, vulnerability, or sadness. Perhaps his recent appearance wearing downturned ears in DSection magazine hints at his recent sorrow. This emotive motif prompted a collection that blended fantasy and whimsy with reality. “It’s that idea of flicking between the endless realities and fantasies we have at our fingertips each day,” Tisci wrote in the show notes.
We’ve gotten so used to fashion going to extremes for our eyes and our dollars. This was not that.
In his own way, Tisci has effortlessly digested and recalibrated the Burberry codes since his start at the house. But this time around, the confidence he had in completely deconstructing these codes, like the iconic Burberry trench, transformed the codes into neoteric delights. The trench was sliced at the shoulder and high-necked, chopped at the thigh and worn like a mini dress, or peekaboo-cropped at the back to reveal abstract printed swimsuits beneath. Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly discover a new version of the classic trench, Tisci surprised you with new twists.
Speaking of abstract prints, a variety of graphic and colorful versions splashed their way onto sheer mini dresses and sleeveless shirts. They were fun, cool, and endlessly wearable – a testament to Tisci’s inner streetwear savant. The collection also contained bodysuits decorated in crystals and neutral options with articulated bosoms, as well as easeful maxi dresses, cow-print minis with lacing details, and fringed separates. What’s more is that this collection looked like it was constructed with complicated techniques, but simultaneously did not seem overworked. We’ve gotten so used to fashion going to extremes for our eyes and our dollars. This was not that.
There was no distraction, no over-accessorization, and scarcely a logo in sight (bless him). It was clean, confident, and gorgeous, with pops of graphics and bold color-blocking to keep the eye invested. In fashion-world speak, this was a highly “directional” collection, in that it pointed the house in a new direction, one that is rife with the kind of aspirational looks that make sense for a versatile array of tastes. And Tisci doesn’t have to justify this direction to anyone. This collection was nothing short of excellent.