By SYLVIA HUI
LONDON (AP) — British luxury brand Burberry unveiled its first catwalk show under new creative director Daniel Lee at London Fashion Week on Monday — and there wasn’t a beige trench coat in sight.
The heritage brand is best known for its elegant, functional trench coats invented during World War I. But Lee, who joined Burberry in September, took the fashion house in a brand-new direction with a debut collection featuring faux fur and feathers, slogan T-shirts and playful duck prints.
The 37-year-old British designer was credited with revitalizing Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta with hugely popular accessories like shoes and handbags during his tenure there, and many in the fashion industry were keen to know if he could work the same magic at Burberry.
Burberry CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said last year that he was banking on Lee’s flair to significantly grow the brand’s accessories sales and “dial up on Britishness in a modern way.”
At Monday’s show, the brand’s signature check pattern appeared in purple, bottle green and maroon on everything from men’s suits to knitwear, skirts, tights and woolly scarves.
Lee seemed to underline a theme of coziness in the face of British weather: One model was draped in a large white blanket emblazoned with the brand’s heritage equestrian knight design, and many of the models clutched hot water bottles with a check print that matched their outfits. Dramatic, oversized faux fur hats and bags adorned with feathers and fur also featured prominently.
Male models wore low-slung, baggy trousers worn with skin-tight polo neck tops, and silver chains and hardware, paired with a red and black palette, hinted at a punk-inspired aesthetic. But there were humorous touches, too, such as a woolly trapper hat topped with a knitted duck head.
The show drew celebrities including film director Baz Luhrmann, rapper Stormzy and models Naomi Campbell and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to its front row.
Burberry is traditionally the biggest draw at London Fashion Week, which also showcases catwalk shows by designers including Christopher Kane, Erdem, Emilia Wickstead and Roksanda Ilincic.
The London displays wrap up on Tuesday, when the fashion crowd decamps to Milan Fashion Week for more new season runway shows.