Is there a book about Burberry? There is now.

Words by
Sphere Editors

23rd March 2023

Burberry has committed its storied history to a coffee table book for the first time. Written by fashion historian and journalist Alexander Fury, and published by Assouline, the book takes readers on an adventure into the history of the house, and shares its unique expression of Englishness with material from the Burberry archive and beyond.

The good ship Burberry continues its steady manoeuvre into solidly British waters with the launch of an eponymous book. The linen-covered, trench-coat emblazoned tome signals Burberry’s continued transition away from the sleek European minimalism of its former designer Riccardo Tisci, back to the roots of its British heritage under designer Daniel Lee.

External View of the New Burberry Book
Five chapters full of illustrations and phenomenal material from the Burberry archives and beyond

One thing Burberry has that many other modern brands can only dream of – apart from, perhaps, Louis Vuitton – is a rich yet practical history  that begins with one man, Thomas Burberry, and his innovative gift to the world: inclement weather proof gabardine.

Classic Burberry Trench Coat Advert
Burberry was and still is worn to explore the great outdoors, as shown in this early 20th Century illustration

This coated cotton twill fabric provides both the historical foundation for the Burberry story, and shapes its continued evolution as a fashion house thanks to gabardine’s ongoing production in Castleford, Yorkshire, and its use for Burberry garments today.

In this richly illustrated book, author Alexander Fury, a sharp-eyed fashion journalist, historian and critic, chronicles 165 years of the house from 1856 when Burberry was a family run fabric company, to today’s incarnation as a renowned global luxury brand.

The Burberry classic check cashmere scarf
Burberry's iconic check displayed at the factory in Yorkshire

Carly Eck, Brand Curator of the Burberry archive, says the process of researching the 200 images for the book, the first to be endorsed by the brand in recent times, was akin to “unearthing a dormant treasure trove, [with] countless gold nuggets..revealed.”

Adwoa Aboah and her family
British Model Adwoa Aboah and her family in Ghana wearing Burberry

The story is told in five parts. Key milestones detailed include the Burberry equestrian knight logo – recently reintroduced by Daniel Lee – which contains the Latin word Prorsum, produced in 1901 and trademarked in 1909; Ernest Shackleton in 1914 and George Mallory, during his attempt to climb Mount Everest in 1924, both wearing the brand. 

Detail of Burberry Trench Coat Lapel and Lining
Detail of the label and lining from a Burberry gabardine trench coat, 1939

Before we reach the heights scaled by the 21st Century incarnation of Burberry - and its at times infamous check - with designer Christopher Bailey, we learn about the birth of the trench coat during the First World War; King George V’s appointment of a Royal Warrant for tailoring in 1919, and the continued production of ready-to-wear in the 1940s.

Stella Tennant for Burberry
The late model, and Burberry muse, Stella Tennant in the Spring/Summer 2019 campaign, photographed by Colin Dodgson

Today the Burberry story is being rewritten in real time with CEO Jonathan Ackroyd and Chief Creative Officer Daniel Lee, whose catwalk show at London Fashion Week last month set a new British-focused style agenda for the house.

Outdoorsy functionality and British humour – a duck hat anyone? - were  woven into the luxurious garments on show, and also saw the reintroduction of the Burberry Knight, resplendent in electric blue.  While the guest list for the show was strictly A-list, the after show party took place in a traditional British pub.

Burberry Assouline
The book is wrapped in linen and features a Burberry trench coat, at 252 pages, the book features 200 illustrations sourced from the Burberry archive and beyond.

Burberry retails at £150/$195/€195 and is available for pre-order at now.  It will be available at Burberry and Assouline stores and online from 28 March 2023.