by Adria Mirabelli
The Latin word “prorsum” translates to “forward”, which is exactly where new creative director of Burberry, Daniel Lee, aims to take the British heritage brand. Appointed as creative director in September 2022, Lee replaced Italian designer Riccardo Tisci who was at the helm of the brand for five years.
Originally from Bradford, Yorkshire in England, Lee grew up close by to Castleford, where trench coats are manufactured. This is a coincidence, yes, but also an invitation for him to look to the past heritage of Burberry for inspiration as well as to re-examine codes and symbols within the culture of his own place of origin. Lee is the first British creative director of Burberry since 2001, when Christopher Bailey lead the brand. This isn’t Lee’s first role at a major fashion house as his impressive resume features time at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga, Donna Karan, Celine, and most recently Bottega Veneta.
From 2018 to 2021, Lee revitalized Italian luxury brand Bottega Veneta as creative director, making it relevant, uber-desirable, and reminded us all of the sumptuous beauty of a bold green. His designs at Bottega Veneta were massively successful, with the Cassette and Jodie bags earning the titles of most-coveted. Lee has proven with his work at Bottega Veneta that he has a keen sensibility in bringing a historic brand with a rich canon of designs into contemporary relevancy. This respect for the past and craftsmanship alongside a strong visionary eye, has us wondering what to expect from Lee’s debut collection for Burberry, which will be shown on February 20th at London Fashion Week.
In a press statement released by the brand, Lee is quoted in saying, “I am honoured to join Burberry…together with the team, we will write the exciting next chapter for this legendary British luxury brand, continuing its historic heritage and building on Riccardo’s legacy. I am very excited to be returning to London, a city that champions pioneering creativity and that continues to inspire me.” We can absolutely see Lee’s nostalgic and symbolic approach in play in Burberry’s new marketing campaign, which was released on February 6th across all of its social media accounts and e-commerce.
Symbolism continues throughout the campaign images as we see Lee reinterpreting historic ideas through a contemporary lens. The concept of the British rose is subverted as stylized florals adorn a model’s long almond nails and fresh roses are used as props throughout. Swans and foxes also grace the campaign in urban settings, suggesting a contemporary refresh of historic codes. Many of the images read as quick moments being captured in time, which gives the feeling of speed, intimacy, and a less ridged or formal concept of the brand.
The clothes are not the highlight of the campaign, but we can see a nod to unisex in the oversized fit of the classic Burberry trench coat. The iconic tartan pattern does not embellish a scarf or accessory in these images, but rather a bralette.
This fresh and thoughtful approach extends to Lee’s new logo for Burberry. Featuring an equestrian knight riding a horse in motion and holding a flag that reads “Prorsum”, Lee is declaring movement forward. A cohesive theme of movement forward is seen in Lee’s first decisions for Burberry, and we can’t wait to see his first presentation later this month. Until then, we will be enjoying Lebon’s gorgeous, dreamy images that mark a new era for the historic British brand.