As the house’s Autumn/Winter 2021 menswear collection is released, Burberry’s chief creative officer opens up about his model selection process, and the malleability of modern masculinity
This week, Burberry unveiled its Autumn/Winter 2021 menswear collection. The designs were inspired by the mythic ideals of the British countryside – or the “great outdoors” – with references to animals, hunting, rural cults, and spiritual communes. Fluidity was also a major theme, with the menswear show including both male and female models.
For Burberry’s chief creative officer, Riccardo Tisci, loosening gender constrictions was both an obvious and practical choice. “The women are not there just because I wanted to put girls in the show,” he tells AnOther. “But also because I’ve learned that, at Burberry, women buy womenswear, but they also buy the men’s. I found that very interesting – and I am a veteran of that idea, of championing that fluidity.”
This fluidity was also clear in the show’s male models, who were a diverse mixture of build, character and race. According to Tisci, the casting was intended as a redefinition of “modern masculinity”, which he believes should be malleable and free to individual interpretation: “For me, masculinity is the confidence that a man should have in his sexuality, so he doesn’t have to fight or justify his femininity. Being proud and living with his own sexuality.”
As for what he looks for in casting generally, Tisci prioritises “a form of strength”. He says the ideal Burberry model is a person who looks after their health and takes pride in their appearance, but also stresses that it’s not just about looks. For Tisci, it’s about connecting on a mental level, and ensuring that the model has a clear understanding of “the vision of the collection”.
“It really matters to me that the models I work with have an understanding of who I am and visa versa,” Tisci says, finally. “I also miss my family a lot because they live in Italy, so I always try and build my own family around me wherever I am. My work is also such a big part of my life, so I have tried to build my own Burberry family, and the models who I feature in this presentation have definitely become a part of that.”