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“I’ve Finally Found My Way To Do Burberry”: Riccardo Tisci On His Goth-At-The-Beach-Inspired SS23 Show

After Burberry postponed its original presentation at London Fashion Week following the death of the Queen, Riccardo Tisci finally got to reveal his collection on the Monday between the Milan and Paris collections. Staged in a warehouse in Bermondsey, the show began in complete silence before the soprano Nadine Sierra broke into a live aria, and the London Contemporary Orchestra scored the finale. Styled on a cast that included Naomi Campbell, Karen Elson and Erin O’Connor, Tisci worked swimsuit elements into dresses and tailoring, which simultaneously incorporated the trademarks of the goth wardrobe: lace, netting, perforation, and gothic fonts, as well as crinkled négligées he attributed to the punk era. Anders Christian Madsen spoke to Tisci after the show.

It’s a big goth season. But that’s in your design genes!

A lot of people do me, so I do the new goth! A lot of people have been doing goth this season, and I’m happy about that because I always loved goth, but I’m happy that we did it this way. It was not about make-up, it was about details and fabrics, and the girls were very relaxed.

What kind of goth is this?

British summer is very different from anywhere else in the world, because Britain is basically built on big cities on the water. That means you really see people dressing on the beach, because you never know when it’s going to rain or when there’s going to be sun. The beauty is the goth on the beach, like these kids we filmed the other day, who are the real kids, or you see a wedding, or someone who’s gone there at lunchtime to read. It’s all different personalities.

Is that what brought on the swimsuit elements?

The swimsuit, since I arrived… for so many years, Burberry has been a masculine winter company, but since my arrival – and the arrival of sensuality – the bestseller in the spring and summer is the swimsuit: the famous swimsuit that all the iconic British girls – the Spice Girls, All Saints, you name it – have worn. It started from that.

How did you use it?

Mostly, what I’m very proud of, is that each look had an element of the swimsuit. The bikini becomes a mini dress or a shirt. Trousers become a men’s swimsuit. Materials like technical jersey are used for evening dresses.

What inspired the crinkled négligée dresses?

If you look at Michael Clark and everyone from the punk era, most of their fabrics are jersey and wools that are crinkled. I took the inspiration from that. But at the same time, the inspiration was weddings and swimsuits. It’s a shirt that became underwear that became a wedding dress.

How did you approach the menswear?

The menswear was David Bowie meeting a royal theme and real street. What is the new England? It’s no longer one thing. There are lots of Black kids and Asians. England is really open and will be open for the future, so I think it was very good mix.

The collection felt very you.

I’m very happy because finally I’ve found my way to do Burberry and Riccardo Tisci at the same time. Obviously, everybody understands it takes time in a big company like this. The show represents what is, for me, British style: elegance, sophistication, the countryside, but at the same time, the beach and sensuality.

Why did you choose to present the show in a mix of silence and a solo aria, and an orchestra for the finale?

It was a moment of respect for someone who’s not with us anymore, who’s been a big influence and a big woman. She was the Queen of the world – every country respected her. At the same time, it was a moment of calm and relaxation and enjoying the clothes without disturbances. In England you always have this contrast: the street and the royalty. And I think today was that.

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