In his new Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Riccardo Tisci pays homage to animals, sensuality and “the freedom of our imagination”
Burberry’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection, unveiled yesterday in London, is a celebration of our more primal fantasies. Titled Animal Instinct, it is one of Riccardo Tisci’s most experimental offerings for the fashion house, with a playful emphasis on animals, sex and the natural world. “To me, this presentation really represents the freedom of our imaginations: how we dream to come alive,” clarified the chief creative officer in an accompanying statement.
The Animal Instinct title feels apt on numerous levels. For one thing, the collection radiates sensuality, appealing to our baser urges with frisky new flourishes. The iconic Burberry trench coat is deconstructed, leaving the bum exposed and in full view. The more classic, oversized silhouettes are still present, but they are offset by cleavage-friendly tops, figure-hugging trousers and transparent, crystal net bodysuits. Most of the designs contain a hint of bondage-style detailing (there’s leather, loose-hanging belts, and high-neck chokers), while many of the fabrics are cut or slashed, offering subtle but revealing flashes of flesh.
Tisci’s embrace of these instincts can be seen more literally in other parts of the collection. As well as including features like “animal-inspired” fringing, cow prints and faux fur, the designer also slipped in an array of prosthetic deer ears, which came courtesy of Burberry’s global beauty director, Isamaya Ffrench.
The presentation backdrop, in contrast, was a more artificial affair, highlighting the discordant relationship between the natural and unnatural worlds. Models walked through a selection of surreal industrial dreamscapes, from a man-made desert and derelict building, to a thumping rave. “I wanted to move through a series of immersive spaces, each of them unique and unexpected in their sound, texture and experience,” said Tisci. “It’s that idea of flicking between the endless realities and fantasies we have at our fingertips each day.” This collection, he added finally, was created in honour of his “mother, Elmerinda, and to a journey full of new possibilities.”