In Bloom, Burberry Spring/Summer21 text by Aybuke Barkcin

Dear Shaded Viewers,

Burberry left the clique runway and wandered off to the forest, where it debuted its Spring/Summer 21 collection online, with an opening performance from singer Eliza Douglas. As most of us are trying to go back to our normal lives and adapt to living with a pandemic, Riccardo Tisci, with his collection called “In Bloom”, gave us small elements of our emotional mindset during these past few months… Our desire to reconnect with nature while knowing that we are trapped in our homes and our desire to be free while managing the fear of not knowing what tomorrow will be like…

I was thinking about regeneration, about dynamic youth, about nature constantly recreating itself, always growing and evolving, always alive.” – Riccardo Tisci

The presentation seemed to be filled with references, and I must say, as the video cuts to the models, to the trees, to the singer, to the performers… it becomes confusing to catch all the messages Tisci was trying to give us. As I was watching the video on YouTube, one user even commented saying that the show was a reference to “the prison system, protests, to the celebration of nature and most importantly hope”, so I will leave it to you to decide.

The presentation starts off with a model entering a small mirrored room dressing herself while being recorded with a smartphone camera. The room gives you a feel of constriction and perhaps a reference to our lives during lockdown. But as she leaves the room to enter the forest, (and if you are someone like me with mild claustrophobia) you feel a great sense of relief.

The video then cuts to the forest where the models walk through a trail wearing earthly tones and most importantly beautiful shades of blue. It seems that for this collection, Burberry decided to put most of their monogram pieces on the shelf but instead, focused on rich colors and prints. Because what is the purpose of wearing the name of a brand in big fonts, if you have no one to show it to.

The main theme of the collection was the sea, a boundless space that one feels easily lost and free, and a place to reflect on our past and hope. The theme was applied throughout the collection on prints with sea centric elements, which consisted of illustrations of mermaids and sharks, along with delicate accessories of what looked like fishing nets. The iconic Burberry trench coat was mixed with denim and leather pieces, styled with knee-high fisherman inspired boots. The last models that walked through the forest wore beautifully stoned and draped evening dresses, that seemed to cover their body like a crystallised cocoon. The show ended with all the models standing in a circle with men in sharp black suits, while the performers were lifting each other and banging their heads… and lastly exiting the scene. It all seemed like one big emotional but confusing ritual.


Aybuke Barkcin

Aybüke Barkçin is an art director, photographer, curator and writer that looks at fashion through the lens of political and societal dynamics. She completed her master's Creative Direction in POLIMODA, Italy and has a background in International Relations and Graphic Design. Her work can be found in her website: