The presentation of Burberry by Riccardo Tisci Spring 201 Ready To Wear
As far ‘ as humor goes, it doesn’t get much darker than “a love story between a mermaid and a shark.” It was Riccardo Tisci’s loaded reference for his first Burberry collection post-lockdown. A metaphor for the events of the past seven months, it reflects the loneliness and thirst for freedom we all experienced in quarantine.
But in his under-the-sea analogy—a theme that pervaded both garments and graphics—Tisci’s shark (a career trademark) represented something more menacing than mere loneliness. In that sense, it was an accurate depiction of how many of us felt in lockdown: part zen and at one with nature, part terrified out of our minds.
Tisci spent his lockdown gardening and cooking with his 92-year-old mother in their family home near Lake Como. “It’s the first time in 21 years that we spent three months together. It was amazing,” he said on a video call the morning of the show.
Dressed in a lumberjack shirt, he was headed to an undisclosed forest outside of London.
There, under the canopy of nature, every feeling that had washed over the designer during lockdown was released in an ominous performance created by the artist Anne Imhof, who also sang at the livestreamed event. Staged sans audience, the tactile performance that ensued could easily make you forget we were in the middle of a pandemic.
Cameras captured models getting dressed inside claustrophobic boxes before they could escape and embrace the freedom of the forest. It all felt very liberating until groups of men in black suits and sunglasses popped up behind them.
They followed the models to a clearing where white-clad performers engaged in a ritualistic dance macabre amid billows of orange smoke that had young commenters on the streaming service Twitch, which hosted the show, rife with quips. The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, and Men in Black were recurring references, while one user pronounced, “They’re about to summon a demon!”
If gardening by Lake Como sounds like a dreamy time, Tisci said lockdown was an ambivalent experience. From a humble background, he spent his career creating a different life for himself.
The rootsy surroundings of his quarantine made him reconnect with his childhood and the innocent mindset with which he pursued those dreams. “You open the drawer of your past and see how far you’ve gone as a person, how much you’ve done for yourself, and for others. Your dreams have come true,” he reflected.
The finale of the #BurberrySpringSummer21 show performance, a creative collaboration between Riccardo Tisci and internationally acclaimed artist @Anne_Imhof.
Models walked to music by @ElizaD0uglas within the majesty of the natural environment.