Since news broke last October that Christopher Bailey was stepping down from the helm of Burberry after 17 years, rumors have circulated about who might succeed him. Would it be Phoebe Philo, who announced her departure from Céline in December? Would it be Kim Jones, the former creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton?
On Thursday morning, to much of the industry's shock, the British fashion house announced that Riccardo Tisci, the former creative director of Givenchy (from 2005-2017), will direct all Burberry collections and present his first for the brand in September. Effective March 12, Tisci will be based at Burberry’s headquarters in London.
In a press statement, the Italian designer reflected on his new venture: “I am honored and delighted to be joining Burberry as its new Chief Creative Officer and reuniting with Marco Gobbetti. I have an enormous respect for Burberry’s British heritage and global appeal and I am excited about the potential of this exceptional brand.”
Gobbetti, who was appointed CEO at Burberry in July 2017 — and was previously president and CEO of Givenchy from 2004-2008 — added: “I am delighted that Riccardo is joining Burberry as Chief Creative Officer. Riccardo is one of the most talented designers of our time. His designs have an elegance that is contemporary and his skill in blending streetwear with high fashion is highly relevant to today’s luxury consumer. Riccardo’s creative vision will reinforce the ambitions we have for Burberry and position the brand firmly in luxury.”
With over a decade's experience designing everything from haute couture to streetwear-inspired womenswear and menswear collections, as well as leather goods and accessories, the industry and Tisci's cult following will eagerly await the new direction and vision he plans to bring to the quintessentially British brand. And, of course, whether or not the Kardashians will have a spot in its star-studded front row.
For the past 17 years, Burberry has been intrinsically linked with music, with artists such as Tom Odell, Benjamin Clementine, and James Bay performing live at its fashion shows. But Tisci, on the other hand, has collaborated with some of the world's flashiest of artists, including Jay-Z, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Madonna.
Though Burberry's sales have been on the decline, which saw the company's shift to bags and basics to make up for the deficits, it may take more than pomp and circumstance to revive a house that's over 150 years old. And so, the countdown to September begins, when a whole new Burberry will be unveiled.