After a 16 years with the British powerhouse Burberry, it was announced on October 31st that Christopher Bailey, the brand’s chief creative designer, will be leaving in 2018. Although the game-changer still has a little time left at Burberry, he will leave after debuting his last collection at Fashion Week in February, officially resigning on March 31st.
To celebrate one of the longest running designer tenures in fashion, here are 10 facts about Bailey’s exemplary career.
- Bailey first started working at Burberry in 2001. As design director, he and four assistants occupied a studio under the rafters above the store’s old location, at Dover Street Market London.
2. He bought his first Burberry coat at a sale in Halifax as a teenager. According to Vogue, he hails from the region where the signature coats are manufactured.
3. Under Bailey’s supervision, Burberry became the first brand to live-stream their fashion shows in 2009. The brand also became known for having live music at their shows, and the company recently debuted a collection through Snapchat.
4. Bailey once worked with Tom Ford at Gucci, in Milan. This wasn’t his first time working with a famous designer; after his graduation show at the Royal College of Art in London, Donna Karan immediately offered him a job in New York in 1994.
5. Bailey is most known for his vision of changing how designer brands are marketed to normal, working class people. This vision came after his own experience of being an embarrassed working-class teenager in a high end store after saving up his money to buy a gift for his sister. “I really hate that horrible side to luxury,” he once told Vogue.
6. When Burberry’s newest headquarters were moved to an old government building at Horseferry House, it was Bailey who was responsible for checking every renovation detail himself.
7. Under his vision, Burberry’s collections referenced British icons from Princess Margaret to Cara Delevigne to Marianne Faithfull. Bailey wanted to be able to play around with British art and music references in a fresh and youthful way, rather than stuffy British stereotypes.
8. In 2016, Bailey announced that Burberry’s collections would be immediately available online and in stores, rather than being previewed months in advance at shows. He was quoted as saying, “Everything is so immediate now that we have tried to build an infrastructure where we can be ahead of it all.”
9. He left his CEO role this year, bringing in former Céline exec Marco Gobetti to take things over.
10. Despite Burberry’s stigma as a British house that simply produced raincoats, Bailey transformed the brand into a global, modern phenomenon. While he has said that he will be pursuing other creative projects during his absence at Burberry, one thing is for sure: he will be missed.