Traditionally, British luxury has been underpinned by heritage and legacy – synonymous with upper-class wealth, power, and monarchic prestige – and bound to specific standards, rules, and behaviours of British aristocracy. However, in an era of increasing social awareness, postcolonial narratives, and a cost-of-living crisis, British luxury can feel stuffy, rigid, and out of touch. The question for heritage brands is no longer how to uphold tradition –but how to reinvent it for a new generation.

 The answer might lie in the global success of Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix series, Bridgerton. This period drama reimagines Regency England featuring a diverse cast, empowering narratives, modern music woven into classical scores, and fashion that nods to both historical accuracy and contemporary colourways (much like Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette). It’s a vibrant tapestry of old and new, demonstrating that heritage can be reinterpreted to stay relevant. Bridgerton offers a crucial lesson: luxury can celebrate its history while embracing inclusivity and a fresh perspective.

‘Marie Antoinette’, Sofia Coppola, (2006): purple Converse sneakers and silk mules in the background of the ‘I Want Candy’ sequence.

Luxury Redefined: Brands in Action

Let’s take a look at some prime examples of brands putting this aesthetic and cultural strategy into action, to varying degrees of success:

Liberty London:

In 2020, Liberty revitalized its logo, separating the crest from the main logotype, a subtle shift away from the aristocratic and upper-class associations of heraldry. Crafting a cleaner, sans-serif typeface, whilst maintaining the brand’s idiosyncratic flared terminals and subtle curvature, the logotype artfully balanced the brand’s signature flair and heritage with a streamlined look perfect for the digital age. The original deep violet, historically associated with royalty and empire, was also updated with a vibrant magenta undertone, reflecting a more modern and complex feel. Meanwhile, the opulent glossy gold was softened to a more understated matt finish.

While this visual refresh clearly reflects aesthetic evolution, it also implicitly points to a shift in cultural values from top-down authority and exclusivity towards forward-thinking creativity and approachable sophistication. With this brand transformation in mind, Liberty has made a natural fit for a collaboration with Bridgerton. Designing all the costume fabrics for Season 3, Liberty London now has a Bridgerton fabric collection and immersive store experience that positions it as a brand with a rich history that, like Bridgerton, embraces the present.


Burberry’s 2023 rebrand exemplifies the importance of striking a balance between tradition and innovation. In 2018, they ditched all elements of their historic logo for a sterile and uniform sans-serif, mirroring a trend among other luxury brands in the late 2010s (such as Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent). This move stripped them of personality, authenticity, and distinctiveness. And so, in 2023, Daniel Lee, their new chief creative officer, led a course correction, returning to the archives and retrieving an intricate equestrian logo and a distinctive serif wordmark. Enlarged and rendered in a contemporary electric blue, the new logo is a signifier of progress and forward-facing heritage, with its equestrian’s flag newly marked with the Latin word ‘prorsum’, meaning ‘forward’ (although it must be said that in facing to the left, it could be said to be going backwards!).

The logo featured heavily in the rebrand campaign, superimposed onto flash-heavy photography featuring modern Britons like Skepta and Shygirl, amidst urban foxes and iconic UK landmarks. Burberry’s careful juxtaposition of heritage cues with bold colourways and contemporary photography allowed it to correct its 2018 overstep, successfully striking a balance between brand authenticity and innovation.

Royal Ascot:

This bastion of British tradition has undergone a significant image shift through its “The Ascot You” 2024 campaign. It features diverse models embracing Ascot elegance in everyday settings, showcasing the transformative power of dressing for a special occasion. Vibrant colours and patterns are injected into traditional silhouettes, while the campaign’s modern coloured serif typeface contrasts with sepia-toned backgrounds. This contrast speaks to a bold subversion of traditional elitism – a bold stamp and act of reclamation on traditionally White, exclusionary spaces and institutions. With its modern reinterpretation and representation of diverse Britons, the campaign emphasizes that anyone can experience a moment of Ascot-inspired luxury.

However, true inclusivity goes beyond mere representation. Brands must actively consider the needs and desires of traditionally marginalized communities. For the Royal Ascot campaign to go one step further and show an authentic evolution, the event itself has to systematically transform itself to champion initiatives centred on equity and inclusivity, ensuring accessibility and a safe space for all. Without this, a rebrand is merely a surface-level changes in aesthetic and tone of voice.


In contrast, Harrods has struggled to reinterpret its British heritage in a way that feels culturally relevant to modern audiences. While iconic and recognisable, the continued use of its traditional dark green and gold logo (virtually unchanged since 1968), can feel dated compared to the more contemporary rebranding efforts of peers like Burberry and Liberty. Harrods’ aesthetic remains firmly and rigidly rooted in old luxury (e.g. Rolex). Implicitly, this suggests to consumers a preference and nostalgia for a glorified British past, and a lack of willingness to evolve with modern values. Once the epitome of British luxury and exclusivity, Harrods now risks feeling out of touch and elitest. 

3 Key Takeouts for Brands

The success of Bridgerton and the transformations of brands like Liberty and Burberry show that heritage can be a springboard, not a burden. By reinterpreting historic cues through a contemporary lens, creating spaces that celebrate diversity, and fostering a connection to the past that feels authentic and relevant, heritage brands can ensure their legacy continues to thrive. The future of luxury lies not in clinging to a bygone era, but in striking a harmonious balance between tradition and innovation. Ultimately, the power of heritage lies not in its unchanging nature, but in its ability to adapt and resonate with the ever-evolving cultural landscape.

  1. Embrace and Reinterpret Heritage: Don’t abandon your legacy! Consumers crave authenticity, and your brand history can be a powerful asset. However, simply referencing the past isn’t enough. Follow the lead of Bridgerton and reinterpret historical elements through the lens of contemporary visual cues and narratives, offering a fresh perspective that resonates with modern values.

  2. Prioritize Inclusivity and Accessibility: Luxury is no longer synonymous with exclusivity. Today’s consumers demand brands that celebrate diversity and cater to a wider range of audiences. Push past surface-levels displays of diversity and ensure you build inclusivity into the core of your brand – creating services, products and offerings that actively serve the needs of those who have traditionally been marginalised by the luxury sector (e.g. adaptive fashion).

  3. Collaboration is Key: Consider strategic partnerships with entities that share your values or can offer a fresh perspective. The Liberty x Bridgerton collaboration or Burberry campaign ft Skepta and Shygirl are prime examples, demonstrating how brands, public figures and media can leverage each other’s strengths to create something truly unique and impactful. This approach allows you to tap into new audiences and generate excitement around your brand identity. Look for partners that can help you reinterpret heritage in a way that feels authentic and relevant to your target demographic.

Maria Victoria O’Hana, Project Director

Bridgerton and Beyond: Reimagining British luxury for a new era