Burberry has tapped British fashion designer Daniel Lee as chief creative officer, to replace Italian designer Riccardo Tisci. As of Monday, Lee will be based at the brand’s London headquarters and report to CEO Jonathan Akeroyd.
Lee will oversee all Burberry collections and present his first runway collection for the brand at London Fashion Week in February, according to a company press release.
Last year Lee abruptly left Kering-owned Bottega Veneta after three years as creative director. Before that, he ran ready-to-wear design at Celine, which he joined in 2012, and has worked at Maison Margiela, Balenciaga and Donna Karan, per the release.
This job at Burberry has been in flux since the 2017 departure of longtime creative chief and sometime CEO Christopher Bailey. Turning to Lee is a “wise move” given his track record at Bottega Veneta, despite rumblings that he can be tough to deal with, according to GlobalData Apparel Analyst Darcey Jupp.
“He successfully transformed Bottega Veneta into an aspirational brand popular among younger generations in just three and a half years,” Jupp said in emailed comments. “Lee should be able to transfer his ability to create sought-after products across to Burberry easily, as the British heritage brand has already been successful in targeting younger shoppers with its streetwear-infused designs under his predecessor Riccardo Tisci.”
Tisci’s swift, sudden departure, following the exit of chief financial and operating officer Julie Brown a few days ago, marks the “symbolic end” of what UBS analysts called an unsuccessful turnaround led by CEO Marco Gobbetti, who took the reins from Bailey in 2016 and left last year. The timing of Lee’s first collection means his designs will likely appear in stores by summertime and will therefore impact the company’s fiscal year, UBS analysts led by Zuzanna Pusz said in emailed comments.
“Although [in the short term] the company may face some headwinds while clearing the products from Tisci's old collections, we think the rapid transition between the two should limit any disruption to the minimum,” Pusz said.
Despite his success there, Lee left Bottega Veneta under something of a mysterious cloud, amid murmurs that he can be difficult, but Burberry is likely well aware of that and the risk involved, Jupp said.
“However it is certainly a risk worth taking if he can help to create viral products and maximise growth for the brand, just like he did at Bottega Veneta,” she said.