When Riccardo Tisci showed Burberry’s co-ed spring ’21 collection during London Fashion Week in September, he gathered more than 50 models in the woods somewhere in the British countryside (in a socially-distanced way) to show the world (via Twitch) just how outdoorsy the brand could really be.
For a men’s-only fall ’21 showing (timed oddly to the women’s shows during London Fashion Week), Tisci went once again to the great outdoors. But this time, it was a bit more avant-garde, looking to both past and future visions of what an outdoor focused wardrobe is supposed to look like.
The collection comes at a time when the outdoor market is booming, and while fashion’s love affair with outdoor brands may be in full swing, most still present a traditional idea of the “outdoor” look, going back to the tried-and-true products that the category has purveyed for decades (i.e. The North Face jacket, a Patagonia fleece, a Merrell hiking boot).
Instead of riffing on boilerplate outdoor items, Tisci created some new ones — and looked back to antique ideas of what outdoor wear looked like in the past. The designer turned to the craft and outdoor movements of early 20th-century English countryside. “They formed communities with a deep respect for nature and the outdoors and looked forward to a future full of possibility,” Tisci explained in his show notes. “I was not only drawn to the artistry of their craft, colors and shapes, but also to their strong sense of camaraderie and friendship.”
Much of that inspiration resulted in ideas of how traditional “dressed-up” tailoring (a specialty of Burberry, and the Brits in general) can go outdoors. There were plenty of trench coat interpretations, which Tisci has been exploring since he landed at the British luxury brand. New ideas (or old ideas taken from British and Scottish fashion, depending on how you look at it) were applied to trousers, shorts and even skirts.
There were also innovative footwear ideas. Tisci molded the leather upper of traditional men’s dress shoes, to a glove-like quality, and then attached them to techie, trekkie rubber soles. A few of the styles even went up the leg in what appeared to be leather leggings.