Masters Of… Modern Heritage
Trends may come and go, but it’s the classic foundations of our wardrobe that we keep returning to time and time again. As we look to make more conscious fashion choices, we’re similarly favouring timeless investment pieces that transcend the seasons, alongside the heritage brands who are delivering them.
With this in mind, we’re championing the established superbrands of the past who have reinvented themselves to stay relevant across the decades; whilst also looking forward to the emerging powerhouses who are on the path to earning their status as the heritage houses of the future.
When we think of heritage, Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Bottega Veneta instantly spring to mind. Season after season, these labels reinvent the traditional codes of their rich legacies to bring them fashionably into the present day, ensuring that they’re always one step ahead.
Like a sumptuous Sunday roast, Burberry is a brand synonymous with British culture; a symbol of the best of British spanning over 165 years. Indisputably one of the biggest fashion names in the world, this superbrand is a true symbol of British identity. Fans range from David Beckham to the Queen, and the house is home to many icons of quintessential British style, including the classic trenchcoat and the legendary Burberry check.
After leaving Givenchy and joining the luxury British house as Chief Creative Director in 2018, Riccardo Tisci had a big task ahead of him in a post-Brexit world. “I want to sustain the Burberry heritage, but I also want to go with the times, with modernity,” the Creative Director said in a conversation with Vogue in 2019.
Quickly making the house a home, he unveiled a new logo and monogram to mark this new chapter. A Southern Italian streetwear stan, Tisci has successfully created a Burberry to be remembered, imbuing the house with a youthful air by combining its rich history with the creativity and expression of the younger generation. “For me, Britishness is an attitude, a strength, a confidence and a freedom,” - an attitude that will endure for another 165 years and counting.
“As a designer, you've always got to push yourself forward; you've always got to keep up with the trends or make your own trends. That's what I do,” Lee Alexander McQueen once stated. Throughout his 19-year career, the late designer earned his place in the fashion industry as a lifelong visionary with a world-renowned reputation that surpasses his untimely death.
The house has always been deeply rooted in heritage, beloved for its rebellious spirit and expressive collections steeped in storytelling. McQueen saw fashion as a medium of expression, exploring polarising themes such as life and death, man and machine through his boundary-pushing designs. His showmanship always pushed the limits, shocking the fashion world each season with innovative and influential runway presentations.
An employee of the house since 1996, Sarah Jane Burton OBE took over the role of Creative Director in February 2010. Since then, Lee’s longtime colleague has preserved the rebellious spirit of his name, flawlessly continuing the infamously nonconformist McQueen legacy.
Bottega Veneta has been epitomising Italian craftsmanship since its inception in 1966. After taking the reins as Creative Director in June 2018, Daniel Lee’s name has been the one on everyone’s lips. Championed as the boy wonder of fashion who has preserved the refined DNA of the heritage house, Lee combines his own fresh perspective and forward-thinking vision with an impeccable sense of what men want to wear - instant classics that are modern, minimal and sophisticated.
By reinterpreting the house’s signatures, Daniel always keeps it fresh. Case in point: the brand’s signature Intrecciato weave which has been enlarged and made oversized to create a more fashion-forward aesthetic, covering coveted bags and accessories.
Unsurprisingly, Bottega’s SS21 collection was heralded as one of the standouts of the season, which saw Daniel return to the importance of human touch whilst the fashion industry went digital. To top it off, despite being one of the most Instagrammed names in fashion, the house went against the grain and deleted its entire social media. In the age of Instagram, if that doesn’t reaffirm the unstoppable power of Bottega, we don’t know what will.
We’re forecasting a very fashionable future with JW Anderson and Jacquemus. Whilst young in industry terms, these forward-thinkers have already reached cult status worthy of becoming the heritage houses of tomorrow.
It’s no surprise that Jonathan William Anderson is lauded by our friends at BoF as one of “the industry’s most fêted British designers”. Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop this forward-thinking force to reckoned with. Whilst social distancing paused shows, Anderson found clever pandemic-proof solutions to showcase his new-season collections to an audience under lockdown, presenting SS21’s “Show In A Box” and “Exhibition In A Tube” for AW21.
Rewind back to his Fall 2011 runway where paisley was the star of the show; this was the breakout moment for the designer who had been designing menswear (and quickly expanded into womenswear) since 2008. At just 26 years old, the Northern Irish innovator amazed revered fashion editors with his exceptional foresight.
In 2015, Jonathan was awarded womenswear and menswear designer of the year at the British Fashion Awards, the first time any individual had been presented with both awards in tandem; proving that he has certainly secured his seat at the table alongside the most powerful voices in fashion.
Does anyone remember life before Jacquemus? Because we don’t. In 2009, at just 19 years old, self-taught designer Simon Porte Jacquemus launched his eponymous label as an ode to his late mother, and a celebration of his native Southern French aesthetic.
Taking the world by storm, Jacquemus quickly rose to fame, becoming a social media phenomenon due to Simon’s playful, boundary-pushing approach to quintessentially chic French fashion, the brand’s sublimely curated Instagram feed and unforgettable, ultra-grammable shows (we’re still dreaming of frolicking in fields of lavender and wheat).
Each deconstructed, surrealist and romantic collection reflects an honest and personal narrative that’s close to Simon’s heart. Even the story behind the brand’s menswear debut has an intimate moment attached to it. “I started this collection when I fell in love and it gave me the energy to do a men’s collection,” Simon explained to GQ. Sartorialists are drawn to the child-like free spirit and infectious sunny disposition embodied by the brand. Toteable icons such as the beloved Jacquemus crossbody bags and messenger bags have cemented its founder as the leading designer in covetable accessories.
Words by Sophy Davis Russell
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