LONDON — Burberry has a new attitude, and plans to shout about it in the coming months with a series of citywide takeovers starting with London Fashion Week, which kicks off Friday.
After London, the brand’s new, blue Equestrian Knight will next month gallop into Seoul and Shanghai — and later, New York — as part of an initiative called Burberry Streets, a series of immersive experiences, installations and events.
Burberry Streets is meant to draw attention to the fall collections; the brand’s British heritage, and its signature designs, which include the famed check in a new shade of cobalt blue; the English rose print, and the leaping Equestrian Knight.
In London, the brand has teamed with Norman’s, the north London café known for its British grub such as fried eggs, English muffins, battered fish and brown sauce. This week the café will be decorated in Burberry’s blue check with a special event planned for Wednesday.
During London Fashion Week, a traveling Norman’s food truck will park on The Strand in central London and on Duke of York Square on the King’s Road serving snacks to show goers and members of the public.
Norman’s eats are only the beginning. Flags with Burberry’s new rose print will be hoisted above Bond Street while the mega-screens at Piccadilly Circus will show videos from the brand’s fall 2023 campaign.
Shot by Tyrone Lebon, the campaign features images of models sporting key looks from Lee’s debut collection on the Isle of Skye in Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway.
In addition, the Equestrian Knight will be stencilled in chalk on London’s streets, paths and parks while black cabs will be wrapped in Lee’s new English rose print.
Burberry Streets coincides with the arrival of Lee’s debut fall collection on the shop floor, and dovetails with the revamp of Burberry’s e-commerce site.
The brand said it wants people to have fun exploring, and indeed the site is brighter, playful and more easily navigable. It’s also simpler, with clearly defined product categories and separate sections that highlight new designs, different product categories and archive styles.
It has an editorial feel with oversized magazine-style cover images, videos and a section dedicated to beauty and fragrance. The latter features Mario Sorrenti’s shots of Emma Mackey in the new campaign for the Burberry Goddess eau de parfum, which comes in a refillable bottle.
The site also includes video interviews with TSHA and Shygirl who wrote and performed the campaign’s song “Goddess.”
On the rest of the site, the products come alive with animated check patterns, or shift into different positions when viewers hover a mouse over an image. It’s possible to see shoes and boots from multiple angles — even the soles.
Burberry has also tried to be more transparent, offering detailed fabric and care information so that customers can make “more informed choices” when purchasing, the company said.
The site has been optimized for mobile, with three new layouts. Burberry said it will continue to evolve, with new functionality and experiences to be introduced in the coming months.
Giorgio Belloli, chief digital, customer and innovation officer, described the experience as “intuitive” with enhanced functionality and a “visually rich aesthetic.”
The website revamp is the latest novelty under the new chief executive officer Jonathan Akeroyd and chief creative officer Lee, both of whom joined Burberry in 2022.
As reported, Akeroyd laid out his strategy during a presentation to analysts last November. He said he wants the brand to be “desirable and relatable,” with product sitting front and center, a renewed focus on “femininity,” and an emphasis on underdeveloped categories such as footwear.
Akeroyd’s ambitions are to take Burberry’s revenue to 5 billion pounds in the long term, fueled by a much bigger accessories business.
Lee joined last September, and his first collection hit the shop floor earlier this week — at luxury price points.
Lee’s most affordable women’s handbag starts at 1,990 pounds for a leather rose clutch, while a majority of bags sit between 2,000 pounds and 2,890 pounds.
There is also a faux fur clutch made from cotton, polyurethane and acrylic that retails for 3,590 pounds, and is only available via preorder.
Other items from Lee’s first Burberry collection include a pair of stud earrings for 290 pounds; a wool duck beanie costing 2,990 pounds, and a feather stretch viscose gown that’s Made in Italy and costs 50,000 pounds.
Many of those items are on display at Burberry’s newly reopened New Bond Street flagship. The store has put a focus on the high-end customer, and luxury interiors and services that could rival those of a five-star hotel.
The store, located on one of the hottest retail strips in the world, had been under refurbishment for the past two years and reflects a more modern and minimal design concept, which Burberry unveiled in its Knightsbridge store in 2021.
Per Akeroyd’s ambitions, the store concept has evolved in order to accomodate a bigger focus on accessories and a fresh approach to color and branding by Lee, who made his runway debut for the brand in February.
The look of the New Bond Street store also reflects its swanky Mayfair location and the high-end clients that Burberry, like so many luxury brands and retailers, has been cultivating in recent years.
“It’s Burberry’s anchor store and a destination, and because of the location the focus is really on elevation, service and luxury,” Akeroyd said during a walk-through in June.
He described the store as a place to host clients, adding that the company will be increasingly focused on developing “our elite customer base, which has really been growing strongly over the last year or so.”
The store spans nearly 22,000 square feet over three floors, and Akeroyd described it as a showcase for British luxury.
The space is bright, with wide open floor space and fixtures designed to make the clothing and accessories pop. The design is pared back, and the star of the show is the merchandise.
There are white walls with matching floors, which are interrupted now and again with shiny, Art Deco-style tiles arranged in a checkerboard pattern.
Flashes of color and texture appear across the space in the form of chubby chairs or swirling rugs covered in intense cobalt blue, Burberry’s new color. A soft bouclé sofa is made for lingering, while gold-tinged fixtures add another dash of Art Deco.
Sculptural wood furniture dotted around the space adds a midcentury modern touch.