Burberry designer Riccardo Tisci to step down ending five years of Italian control

Departure comes year after CEO Marco Gobbetti left, with Daniel Lee taking over creative head role

Burberry’s creative head, Riccardo Tisci, has left just a year after his fellow Italian Marco Gobbetti’s departure as chief executive, with both roles at the UK luxury brand now to be held by Britons.

He will step down at the end of this month, closing a tenure of just under five years, and will be replaced by Daniel Lee, from Yorkshire. Tisci’s critics have argued that he failed to make the most of Burberry’s British heritage and there was a sense of disconnect between his designs and the brand’s history.

Tisci leaves less than a year after the man who brought him in, Gobbetti, departed; he was replaced by a Briton, Jonathan Akeroyd. The changing of the guard also includes the long-term finance head, Julie Brown, who, it was announced earlier this week, is moving to the drug group GSK.

Tisci brought a streetwear aesthetic to Burberry, which helped re-energise its brand image and attract a younger, more diverse and fashion-conscious set of customers.

His exit had long been rumoured since Gobbetti left. The gossip reached a crescendo at Burberry’s London fashion week show on Monday, with insiders pointing out that the contract Tisci signed when he was appointed was about to expire.

Riccardo Tisci and Simone Ashley at the Bermondsey show on 26 September
Riccardo Tisci and Simone Ashley at the Bermondsey show on 26 September. Photograph: David M Benett/Getty Images for Burberry

Akeroyd said: “Riccardo has played a pivotal role in repositioning Burberry. He has enhanced our creative language, modernised and elevated our product offer and brought a new generation of luxury customers to our brand.”

Tisci said: “Burberry is a very special place with a magical past and a very promising future. The chapter I was asked to write in its long story is one that I am incredibly proud of, and one I have decided would culminate with my show on Monday.”

Lee’s arrival on 3 October marks a return to two Britons at the head of Burberry after five years of Italian influence. The designer, born in Bradford, brings a wealth of international experience that has helped him develop a “winning way with an It bag”, including three years as creative director at Bottega Veneta, where he helped reinvigorate the Italian luxury brand, and stints at Celine and Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and Donna Karan.

Akeroyd said: “Daniel is an exceptional talent with a unique understanding of today’s luxury consumer and a strong record of commercial success, and his appointment reinforces the ambitions we have for Burberry.”

Lee said: “I am honoured to join Burberry as chief creative officer. 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.”


Sarah Butler

The GuardianTramp

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