It's a bold move. Burberry has announced that its Spring Summer 2021 collection will indeed show in September. But there's a twist. The House plans to host its show outdoors.
It will be "an immersive show experience" that will take place in Britain, in a currently unknown open air location. And yes, it will be streamable too, for those who are unable to travel to attend. The date is currently set as September 17.
In line with Burberry's last two shows, this experience will be certified carbon neutral. It will be staged in the most eco-friendly way possible and any remaining emissions will be offset through Burberry’s Regeneration Fund.
Burberry said in a statement: "Now more than ever, we have to reimagine, to change."
“As humans, we have always had a deep affinity to nature. We have had to respect and rely upon its power for our very existence, whilst marvelling and revelling in its extraordinary beauty. Especially recently, we have all yearned to reconnect again and for this show, I wanted to celebrate these feelings by bringing our community together in a creative experience that takes place within the beautiful, natural landscape of Britain.” said Riccardo Tisci, Chief Creative Officer of Burberry.
While it's unclear at this stage whether Burberry plans to have a physical audience, the plans are ambitious given that the current coronavirus social distancing restrictions prohibit large gatherings. The current protocol in the UK is that public venues and spaces are open but people must keep two metres apart at all times. Obviously, this is much easier to achieve in an open, outdoor space rather than a fixed interior venue - which would explain Burberry's decision to head outdoors.
The potential spanner in the works for Burberry is the outdoor gathering restrictions. At this stage England has a 6-person rule for outdoor gatherings which could potentially get in the way of Burberry's plans for a runway show. There's no indiction whether this particular restriction will be lifted by September, or whether a "gathering" includes distanced events like fashion shows.
Every day, as announcements from brands and luxury houses pour in, we get a closer to what the future of fashion will look like in a post-coronavirus world. Perhaps it will be a less is more, timeless and seasonless reality. As brands like Saint Laurent exit the fashion calendar and others like Gucci choosing to go seasonless, we're seeing a move towards a less trend-focused future. And with many luxury brands choosing to raise their prices, it's pushing us towards viewing luxury as an investment - buying less, but cherishing more.
And in the realm of events, will virtual shows and seminars be our new reality? Dior is another example, the House has just announced its coming show will have no physical audience - it will be viewable digitally instead. While these are currently necessary for social distancing, the fringe benefits are undeniable. They're more affordable, and they allow attendees to save on travel time and expense. Perhaps we'll see more of open air and streamable fashion shows in the years to come.