GROWING UP in a single-parent household in Taranto, Italy with his eight sisters, Riccardo Tisci was brought up by an army of strong women. Hailing his mother’s ‘unfaltering purpose and pride’, the designer has always seen beyond the beauty of women and instead highlighted their integrity and power with his designs.
“Naturally, I have always been drawn to strong women and, in turn, they have also given me the confidence to express my own femininity,” explains Tisci. “They are not afraid to challenge expectations and I have always been in such awe of their determination. They are warriors.”
Inspired by the power of feminine energy, Tisci approached the Burberry autumn-winter 2021 collection with the desire to create the armour for the modern woman not afraid of anything. Noting however, “There’s an underlying attitude to the collection that’s very British; of being unique, eccentric and totally authentic in how you express yourself”. Whilst balancing European femininity and the unwavering stubbornness of British identity, the Italian designer also continues to celebrate nature.
Encapsulating this continuing motif in the womenswear collection, Tisci interprets this as Mother Nature. Utilising the animal kingdom house code, faux furs and trompe l’oeil prints help paint this picture as photographic fox print wool and geometric intarsia are embedded onto the Burberry trench, while shearling helps rebuild the classic duffle coat.
Animal prints are seen against blocks of black as hints of this female freedom are found in the collection, and satin and tulle reimagine silhouettes created to flatter the female form.
Going back to this idea of armour, the characteristics of British tailoring are taken to create sharp-shouldered box blazers with tapered trousers that are finished with cut-out detailing on the cuffs – and a noteworthy highlight is the cashmere cape constructed with a spliced tailored jacket.
Both fluid and classic, the looks dance between the lines of expressionism and tradition as the models present the clothes in the brand’s flagship store on Regent Street.
The collection was Tisci’s strongest to date at Burberry. He has finally found the equilibrium where his distinct talent to showcase dark romanticism with untouched elegance falls hand-in-hand with Burberry’s British heritage and strong sense of self. It was every bit Burberry as it was Tisci – a balance every designer aims to find. The only challenge now is ensuring you’re as empowered as the clothes are.