Last night, Daniel Lee made his debut as Burberry’s new chief creative officer inside a packed, purpose-built venue under the shadow of London’s Oval stadium — the home of cricket, a quintessentially British sport. Originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire, Lee previously held the top creative role at Italian label Bottega Veneta.

To press, Lee exclaimed that through last night’s show he wanted to “celebrate what’s great about the country” which feels necessary and timely considering the post Brexit, post pandemic, rising in the misogyny state this country finds itself in today.

“What’s unique about London and why I’m so happy to be back here is I’m so inspired all the time. When you walk down the street you see people from so many different walks of life living together and that’s something that I’ve missed.”

Lee made a very exciting debut, expressing a new vision for Burberry which doesn’t connotate a traditional return to British sartorial cues — the beige trench was almost entirely MIA — but rather an attempt to push the label forward into an edgier space.

English mustard yellow, deep purples and reds and injections of royal blue formed the base colour palette for a collection that featured bomber jackets and pleated, tartan-inspired kilts styled over trousers. It would be hard to dismiss a potential nod to the late Vivienne Westwood. 

Lee’s ambition for the brand is shared in its new CEO Jonathan Akeroyd who has already widely touted his goal of growing the British fashion house — and one of the last remaining independent luxury labels — into a £5 billion ($6 billion) megabrand.

The collection took on several traditional British motifs – checked blankets, classically British Aran jumpers, the English rose motif made several appearances – but in a subversive form by means of colour and/or texture. 

While the economic fallout from Brexit, a ropey handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the slew of leadership changes of late have not painted a particularly cool picture of Britain to the world, Lee seemed determined to remind onlookers that the Isles have something more to give.

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