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HOW DO you take a British heritage brand like Burberry and bring it into today? Daniel Lee’s answer is making it resonate with the UK.

His first two collections were a welcomed return to the foundations of the House – think variations of the check, woolly jumpers, trench coats and a lack of faff that only Brits can appreciate.

Then, he launched a series of campaigns reinstating one of the original logos, backdropped by big industry names like it-models like Iris Law and Stevie Sims, musicians King Krule and Damon Albarn, and sporting heroes Bukayo Saka and Ramla Ali.

Though everything seemed hunky-dory, Lee’s masterplan lacked something. And for autumn-winter 2024 he managed to pinpoint it – nostalgia.

Inviting a rich kaleidoscope of talent and guests to East London’s Victoria Park for his third outdoor show, an Olympic-worthy-sized tent sheltered the likes of Callum Turner, Barry Keoghan and Olivia Coleman, to Gabriel Moses, Skepta and Slawn, all awaiting the next instalment of Lee’s vision.

Once the lights finally dimmed, the first notes of Amy Winehouse’s ‘You Know I’m No Good’ set the stage alight with the feeling of return. Maybe the Burberry we all grew up with would finally make a return to our wardrobes?

Then Agyness Deyn, the famed face of Christopher Bailey’s Burberry Prorsum, opened the show in a high-neck, double-breasted trench coat with matching trousers that featured a green tartan turn-up above the boots.

What followed was a collection that let go of all the gimmicks.

Wearability within the reality of British weather came first and sophistication came second. Stating in his show notes, the designer explained that the clothes should “[evoke] a feeling of warmth, protection and outdoorsy elegance. Inspired by the landscapes and people of the UK and Ireland”.

Muting the palette to only forest greens, hues of oatmeal and brown to the occasional splash of navy blue, AW24 was immaculately refined – almost acting as a camouflage uniform to the colours of the countryside.

The majority of the looks were naturally centred around outerwear; whether it be coats or jackets. Playing with shape and fabric, the classic trench was revisited in moleskin alongside new iterations of duffle coats and field jackets (“Coats are at the core”).

Layering was unavoidable as jumpers came paired with scarves secured around the head or with turtleneck designs, and trousers were made out of thick wool with zips for ventilation, and skirt hems swept the floor.

Returning to the archives for this collection, craftsmanship played another vital part in Lee’s homage to the past. The mills of Donegal and Lochcarron inspired new techniques to create with as textures such as thick braided fringing and fleecy wools were what gave the mundane pieces elevation – “I wanted to take a traditional approach to the fabrics and how each piece is made”.

Of course, accessories are always a focus – especially for Lee whose track record of creating ‘must-have’ pieces is what probably added to his appeal for this role. “Shoes and bags are functional. These pieces are made for the outdoors”.

Taking a new approach this season, he let go of the extra details like adding fur to a heel or embroidery to a ballet flat, instead, he gave models umbrellas to carry, weekender bags to slug over their shoulders and waterproof boots adaptable to all of our seasons.

It certainly made a change to what he previously put out but in some way, it makes more sense. It bridges the gap between this idea of country and city that Burberry battles with – and hopefully makes a more reasonable case in terms of affordability.

After Deyn, Lily Cole, Lily Donaldson, Karen Elson, Naomi Campbell and Edie Campbell followed in her steps, hopefully hinting at hailing the British icons back in again for another Brit-infused era.

But as the final notes of ‘Black to Black’ echoed in the grandiose tent and Lee waved his appreciations around the room, there was a cheer of recognition that this was his best collection to date. He needed to let go of overthinking and trust the inherent sense of ‘getting on with it’ that the UK has.

I mean you really don’t need much more than a waterproof coat and a scarf to get to the pub.

by Imogen Clark


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