LONDON — No royal fireworks are expected this season, but there’ll be front-row fizz nonetheless: Queen Elizabeth isn’t planning an encore at London Fashion Week after popping up at Richard Quinn’s February show, but Riccardo Tisci is sending out his first Burberry collection, while Victoria Beckham and Jenny Packham are both returning to the London runway after long stints in New York.
Tisci’s show won’t be a total surprise: Over the past few months, the designer has been dropping clues faster than Agatha Christie, and it’s clear that while his blood might be Southern Italian, his spirit is British and his vision for the company is rooted in London.
A graduate of Central Saint Martins and a well-known Anglophile, Tisci has made it clear to his public, to the naysayers (there have been a few) and to financial markets that an Italian can respect — and enhance — the Britishness of Burberry, maybe even better than a native-born Brit.
In June, Burberry’s new chief creative officer styled a selection of spring-summer 2019 pre-collection campaign images of couples dressed in pieces such as the trench coat, the quilted jacket, the car coat and the kilt. In July, Tisci announced that he’d tapped Vivienne Westwood to create a capsule collection that will land in December.
“Vivienne was one of the first designers who made me dream to become a designer myself,” Tisci wrote on Instagram early last month. “She is a rebel, a punk and unrivalled in her unique representation of British style, which has inspired so many of us. I am so incredibly proud of what we will be creating together.”
The capsule will feature reimagined iconic pieces from the brand’s archive, with Westwood undoubtedly planning to put her subversive spin on the British heritage label. Proceeds will go toward Cool Earth, a nonprofit organization that aims to halt deforestation in the tropics.
More recently, Tisci unveiled a new Burberry logo, with help from Peter Saville, the British art director and graphic designer. He also whipped up a new TB monogram, based on the initials of Thomas Burberry and a design he found in the Burberry archive.
The new orange, white and camel motif will sell alongside Burberry’s heritage check patterns and cleverly taps into the luxury fashion zeitgeist.
“I think the revising of old collections and archive prints is something that has led to great commercial success for several brands— Prada, Versace and Fendi for starters,” said Coco Chan, head of women’s rtw and accessories at Stylebop.com. “We are going to be seeing more and more of this as brands continue to lean on nostalgia to entice younger customers. I would be surprised if we don’t see Tisci take this approach at Burberry, as we (already) saw a hint of.”
Tisci is moving forward on other fronts, too, and shaking up the way in which Burberry handles its product drops and deliveries.
The designer plans to release a limited-edition capsule collection as part of his runway debut that will be delivered in a series of drops from September. Going forward, Burberry will have an almost monthly cadence of new deliveries of capsules, collaborations, limited-edition product and seasonal collections across its categories.
Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s chief executive officer, said the new model caters to the new customer: “What we are doing is best from a design and creative point of view and best for the Burberry customer who doesn’t want to wait six months to see new fashion. We’re keeping the customer interested.”
London will have other major moments, too, with Victoria Beckham returning from New York to mark a decade in the business, and Jenny Packham, who’s also returning to mark 30 years of her fashion house.
A lot of the action will be taking place off the runway, with homes-cum-retail spaces taking center stage. On Sept. 3, Matchesfashion.com will open its townhouse concept at 5 Carlos Place in Mayfair.
“It will be very personalized,” said Ruth Chapman, who co-founded Matchesfashion with her husband Tom, and then sold the company to Apax Partners last year in a deal valued at $1 billion. “It’s about bringing people together, having them socialize and giving them an experience. It’s also about giving them an education in fashion. We sell expensive clothes at Matchesfashion, so it’s about ensuring they understand why.”
During London Fashion Week, Diego Della Valle will open the doors of the Tod’s Apartment on Sloane Street, a one-off concept space designed by India Mahdavi, the architect and interior designer known for her punchy color combinations.
The two-floor space has been conceived as a home, with a giant, saffron velvet sofa angled around the back walls, a dining room table (set with accessories), steps leading to what appears to be a boudoir (but isn’t) and dyed silk wallpaper by De Gournay.
Retailer John Lewis will also be upping its style game come September. In its most significant fashion investment to date, the store plans to relaunch its in-house women’s collection in a bid to become “a true British fashion destination.”
The 300-piece fall-winter range comes in a rainbow of color and is meant to be layered and playful. The store said it wants customers to find their own style in the myriad updated classics which include oversize, languid coats and tailored suits, scrunchable knee-high leather boots, wide-leg chinos, chunky knits and colored patchwork sneakers.