Goodbye Mr Bailey
After 17 years at the helm of Burberry, Christopher Bailey exited with a bang with a last show that was part homage to his past collection, part celebration of gay rights. But before we get to that, let’s look back at his best ever fashion moments…
The trench coat
Of course Burberry and trench coats are nothing new, but under Christopher Bailey, not only did it become a wardrobe staple amongst the younger style set, it got a helluva makeover too. He played with the tailoring of the classic version, making it more modern and wearable, and for that extra kick, introduced some studs and metallic finishes too.
The personalised poncho
Who knew a poncho could be so covetable? It all started at Bailey’s AW14 show, when he sent Cara Delevingne and his other ‘Bloomsbury girls’ down the catwalk wearing western style blankets monogrammed with their own initials. Cute the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Olivia Palermo and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley following suit, and everyone else adding it to their Christmas wish-list.
He made the Nova check desirable again
Let’s be honest, in the early noughties, Burberry’s Nova check didn’t have the best rep. Thanks to countless counterfeits and its adoption by WAGs and Z list celebs, it was considered a bit naff. What Bailey managed to do was bring the print back in a subtle chic way, on scarfs, the lining of a trench, even on hats, but most definitely not head-to-toe in one look.
He was at the forefront of innovation
Bailey was one of the first designers to bring the ‘see now, buy now’ platform to the catwalk, instantly making the brand more accessible to consumers and the younger social media audience. The model was also a clever way to be a step ahead of high street copycats.
Burberry’s ad campaigns always made sure the brand stayed relevant too. Just think of how many teenagers wanted the tartan scarf after seeing Romeo Beckham breakdancing while wearing it in the adorable 2014 Christmas campaign?
When it rained on the runway
Ask fashion editors what their favourite Burberry show is and most of them will say the AW12 show. Cara Delevingne (again) led a procession of models all brandishing umbrellas to protect themselves from the rain which was falling on the catwalk. It was the perfect tongue-in-cheek homage to the brand’s British heritage, especially poignant as 2012 was the year of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee.
Burberry isn’t only one of the highlights of the LFW calendar because of the collection, it’s thanks to the stellar FROW too. Over the years, Bailey has amassed a loyal group of celeb followers, led by Cara Delevingne of course, which includes but is not limited to, Naomi Watts, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Jourdan Dunn, Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley etc.
His exit show: Christopher Bailey bows out under a rainbow of colour, surrounded by his Burberry girls
Trish Halpin, editor in chief of Marie Claire, attended Bailey’s last show, soaking in the incredible atmosphere.
She says, ‘It was really different to anything he’s done in the 17 years he’d been at the helm. Very street style and cool – trainers, puffers, anoraks and waterproofs. There were lots of LGBTQ rainbow colours – even through the classic Burberry check.
‘It really showcased lots of his influences growing up. Cara D closed the show in a dramatic rainbow fur length cape – exactly what the fur protestors outside were screaming about! He took a very low key bow – to a standing ovation – then ran over to kiss his partner and disappeared back stage for the last time.’
What a way to go.
We await the next Burberry chapter with bated breath.