For Daniel Lee’s second outing, Burberry’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection emerged as a beacon of British style reimagined for the modern world, where the creative director asks: Long Live Burberry?
The stage was set in a refreshing departure from the norm, taking style-setters on a quaint stroll through Highbury Fields, a serene escape far from the bustling streets of London Fashion Week. For weeks leading up to this grand event, Burberry had orchestrated a series of captivating activities, including the transformation of Bond Street Station into Burberry Street, a sight that left tourists bewildered and intrigued.
Daniel Lee’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, a stark departure from his debut, was a masterful blend of classic and contemporary. No longer were we immersed in the crochet ducks and countryside couture. Instead, we were greeted with an aesthetic that was sleek, sharp, and quintessentially urban.
While the fashion world celebrated the return of Burberry, there was an undercurrent of merriment and magic woven throughout the collection. Fruity prints and retro florals added a dash of playfulness to the lineup, a nod to the most clichéd yet charming vision of the twee English country garden.
The era of streetwear, once prominent, has faded into the past, disappearing like a swift golden snitch. In its place, a dignified and impeccably composed aesthetic has emerged. In Lee’s showcase, envision a refined procession of dresses adorned with cascading fringes swaying gracefully like ballroom dancers. Halter-neck tops, seemingly suspended by a magical force, add an air of mystique to the collection. The trapeze gowns, meticulously pleated, reflect a level of precision. It’s harking to the “old money” aesthetic, if old money started with young Gen X’ers and Millennials; old money for the new world.
While Paris may flaunt its haute couture like a prized potion, the most enchanting element was the impeccable tailoring reminiscent of Britain’s heritage embodied by Savile Row. These double-breasted suits, paired with trousers both comfortably relaxed and astonishingly sharp, were like the robes of a wizard who had mastered the intricacies of their craft, blending tradition with innovation.
The runway was awash with shades reminiscent of luscious English garden fruits—berries, strawberries, and cherries—in a playful celebration of nature’s hues. These berry-inspired tones, intertwined with the brand’s signature checks and hardware accents, created a visual that felt both fresh and classic. The juxtaposition of bold, fruity colors against Burberry’s timeless silhouettes served as a delightful reminder that fashion, like the sweetest berries, can be both reinvigorating timeless and refreshingly new.
Imagine models adorned in dresses and coordinates filled with patterns resembling cascading blue strawberries and meadow-flower prints as vivid as a summer’s day, opposite of London’s rather gloomy atmosphere. It’s as if the entire collection plucked inspiration straight from the orchards and gardens of bright Britain, bringing a fruity exuberance to its iconic designs.
In the spotlight of the SS24 collection, the timeless trench coat assumed a leading role, but not without a dash of inventiveness. With Gucci and Prada reinvigorating their prized possessions for the contemporary clientele, who can stop this English house, and why should they? Lee flipped it inside-out, reversing its direction, and elegantly draping delicate chain accents, effectively morphing it into exquisite capes and evening-ready accessories.
Burberry’s unique ability to marry British quirkiness with international appeal is a testament to its enduring legacy. Reports hint at an ambition to elevate luxury and pricing, a remarkable feat for a brand that has playfully embraced British humor without scandal. This collection, with its universal appeal and refined aesthetics, seems poised to transcend the confines of Britain, just like witchcraft and wizardry, Royal feuds, and most importantly, fish and chips.
Lee’s transformation of the brand identity is nothing short of cunning and steadily advancing endeavor. His bold voyage to tackle in the opposite direction, ingeniously embedding Burberry’s distinctive markers in subtler and more sophisticated ways, all worked out the way it needed to for his goal: to make the brand British again. In essence, it functioned as a reiteration of the Daniel Lee we’ve come to recognize, the innovator who rejuvenated Bottega Veneta, making the brand’s presence felt through artful subtlety, ensuring that it’s unmistakable without the need for bold proclamations. It’s a fashion strategy that’s both cleverly calculated and playfully discreet, leaving competitors scratching their heads as they chase after the obvious.
As the only heavyweight brand on the London Fashion Week schedule, Burberry’s resurgence could be a game-changer for the city’s independent labels and emerging British designers. With Daniel Lee leading the charge, he aims to potentially herald a new era where Britain, with all its grace and divinity, exclaim: Long Live Burberry!
Photos: BURBERRY (via website)