ben broomfield
ben broomfield

At London Fashion Week, designers refocus on good clothes

A model in a daffodil yellow coat with faux fur collar
Burberry’s first collection under new creative director Daniel Lee debuted at London Fashion Week © Bloomberg via Getty Images

Daniel Lee’s Burberry debut swept through London Fashion Week like a breath of fresh air. The city is in need of a pick-me-up in the aftermath of Brexit, Covid and Liz Truss’s disastrous “mini” Budget — not to mention the ongoing public-sector strikes over pay.

Editors and buyers who usually skip London and head straight to Fashion Week in Milan appeared south of the Thames on Monday night, in London’s Kennington Park, to see whether Lee could restore the magic at Britain’s biggest and best-known luxury goods brand — and help the company achieve its goal of increasing revenues from £2.8bn to £4bn within five years.

It might not have been magic, exactly, but Lee did succeed in making Burberry worth watching again. He has been tasked by chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd, who joined Burberry from Versace last year, with emphasising Burberry’s “Britishness” as it seeks to recapture market share from European rivals such as Gucci, Prada and Moncler.

Lee did it not with the Mayfair-meets-Bloomsbury Englishness of former designer Christopher Bailey, who sat front row, but with enormous faux furs, clashing Burberry plaids and frayed kilts-over-trousers that evoked the look and spirit of early Vivienne Westwood and ’90s grunge. The decision to pitch a tent in Kennington, an area once known for its squatters, instead of returning to Bailey’s grand, orangery-style showspace in Hyde Park, spoke volumes.

A model in large faux fur hat, checked skirt and sweater
Daniel Lee’s first collection for Burberry included clashing Burberry patterns, frayed kilts over trousers . . . © Filippo Fior
Model in below-the-knee coat with faux fur collar
 . . . and trenchcoats with faux fur lapels for a grunge interpretation of ‘Britishness’ © Filippo Fior

The response on social media was “mixed”, according to Bernstein analyst Luca Solca. Department-store buyers

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