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Burberry Pre-Fall 2021

The limitations of the past year have made us turn to our own back gardens. From city parks to our nearest countryside, the effect is real. During the second lockdown in November, a Sunday afternoon in Kensington Palace Gardens resembled a music festival with hordes of Londoners promenading in their styled-up alfresco best; indoor girls in outdoor clothes. And those of us who are no strangers to the natural elements have only intensified our Cordings and Purdey custom, stocking up on waxed cottons and scratchy wools. It’s a heritage in which Burberry is historically entrenched, so it was no surprise that Riccardo Tisci had lost himself in the outdoors, too.

Needless to say, his pre-collection wasn’t an exercise in sturdy country-wear for the eternally muddy tracks of England, but an urban riff on a non-urban wardrobe. “I have been inspired by the rich heritage of traditional British dress codes and given them a fresh perspective,” as he said. Abstracted botany prints and camouflage set the tone for that approach, embellishing a women’s wardrobe that interpreted the staples of British country dress in delicate silhouettes and fabrication. A green quilted coat was feminized with a cape detail, and a cognac-colored shirt was overlaid with lace-like foliage. Cargo trousers with exaggerated straps embodied a casual yet styled city approach to interacting with nature.

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“This is my uniform for the outdoors,” Tisci said. “This collection is about mirroring the natural environments within its dynamic prints, colors, and textures.” He illustrated that approach in graphic and mirrored, almost digitized, takes on camouflage for men, and a rather fairy-tale print that seemed to morph drawings of deer with trees. Some motifs kind of reminded you of the autostereogram books that had a moment in the early 1990s. Transferred to men’s puffer jackets and vests—and joined by dungarees, fishing gilets, and kilts—they captured the newfound relationship with nature many have cultivated in a year that has called for the kind of therapy only the great outdoors can provide.

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