One of the most hotly anticipated moments in fashion has just debuted: Daniel Lee’s first collection for Burberry. Lee, who left Bottega Veneta in 2021, is renowned for reviving the latter brand, bringing the archive into the current day with leather goods, boots, and headline-grabbing color choices (“Bottega Green” mania) to the center of 21st-century pop culture. At Bottega, it was season after season of hits — never had the House been so successful. So, the big question is: can Daniel Lee do the same for Burberry?
Ex-Burberry Creative Director Riccardo Tisci was a favorite among celebrities, but seldom the consumer. Collections were not always praised as the House had hoped, so a fresh take was required with Lee now in control. And fresh it was, perhaps even, refreshing, with the likes of Edward Enninful, Naomi Campbell, Future, Grace Wales Bonner, Skepta, Shygirl, Stormzy, Kano, Jamie xx, Oliver Sim, Jason Statham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Honey Dijon, Martine Rose, and of course Hypebeast all eagerly waiting to find out more.
The return of Burberry Prorsum (brought in by Christopher Bailey in the noughties and reflective of the Burberry Equestrian Knight logo from 1909, representing going forward per the Latin word “Prorsum”), was a wise choice to start with. It’s very Lee, who has proven his ability to reshape the past. Here, the heritage logo became the focus on dresses, but also hid between equally historic checkered motifs — in a variety of colors per Lee expectations — which went to show the new/old logo’s versatility.
Checks were indeed another intelligent study from the new designer. Not one stereotypical Nova Check in sight. Instead, the crisscrossing was exploded into large-scale illusions, dressing up skin-tight tops, flowing wool trousers, wool duffle coats, and some smaller elements like accessories.
New elements for the House included a focus on roses. “Not All Roses Are Red,” read one graphic tee. And seldom was there a red rose, as purple and yellow clashed on overcoats, merlot and orange mingled on purple leather trimmed dressing gowns, and purple and black deepened the effects of dresses that wrapped around the body, the midriff of which sporting a peplum of fabric rose bunches.
Extravaganzas came in the form of dresses crafted from multicolored, minuscule feathers. Likewise, feathers grew in size and appeared more autumnal across knee-length coats or as breastplates on tops, while consistent use of faux fur (seen on hoods, shoes and bags) added to the opulence. And as for those accessories — a key department in Lee’s repertoire and subsequent success as a designer —, it was yet another home run.
The House has needed an “it” bag that the glitterati will clamber for, and Lee delivered several to choose from. Leather, faux fur trimmed, metal dangling evening purses, and smaller leather numbers that sported lowercase gold metal “b” logos on them, were served alongside giant duffles and totes, some of which even came with bushy fox tails.
Shoes echoed the bags. Boots of rain, chukka, and utility variants all walked the runway, while kitten heels covered in shearling, faux fur, suede, and more tails added a small, camp, fun touch to the really serious — but enjoyable by all means — collection.
What stood out the most, above all else, was Lee’s ability to acknowledge what really sells for Burberry, and has done for many years. Opening the show with two classic Burberry Trench coats, both in heritage green hues with glossy shearling collars, a belt, and epaulets on the women’s style, proved the designer doesn’t just know how to reinvent a House, but also honor one.
Daniel Lee’s Burberry FW23 debut can be seen in the gallery above. Sound off your thoughts below, and find more London Fashion Week FW23 content across Hypebeast.