Burberry looks to ancient Olympia for inspiration

At the height of Hong Kong’s rainy season, in a year when it’s difficult to travel, the idea of escaping to the Mediterranean and the chance to be immersed in ancient history is particularly attractive. So when Burberry brought a dose of ancient Greek culture to Hong Kong to launch its new bag, it felt almost heaven-sent.

On June 22, Tatler friends were invited to the launch of Burberry’s Olympia bag, which began in a pop-up at the Landmark Atrium before moving across the road to an exhibition space in the Pedder Building. Riccardo Tisci, Burberry’s chief creative officer, named the bag after the original location of the ancient Olympic Games, which is now an important archaeological site.

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After filling their Instagram feeds with photos of the pop-up— which was surrounded by large statues that looked like they had been plucked from the Parthenon—guests were escorted to the exhibition in the Pedder Building, where they walked through displays of Burberry’s new It-bag surrounded by a garden of even more 3D-printed Greek statues. To add an interactive dimension, the brand brought the world of Olympia to life with a sculpture room, a behind-the-scenes film and an origami workshop.

To amp up the feeling of escapism, Matthew Tosca, artistic director of production company Vox Vanguard, devised a performance of music and dance inspired by Greek literature. Referencing the blind poet Homer, a blindfolded solo violinist played Giuseppe Tartini’s Le Trille du Diable, accompanied by a dancer who played his guide, Olympia. The duo serenaded guests with a baroque-electro fusion performance that reinforced the notion of a modern take on the classical.

Reyna Harilela, co-founder of PR firm Bonvivant & Bellavita, was captivated as she watched it unfold. “I loved the juxtaposition between the dance, the music and the brand,” she said. “The atmosphere was beautiful and it was so nice to see so many familiar faces again after so long.