With boyish charm that could pass for a tween heartthrob or instant membership to a cult-forming boy band, Christopher Bailey’s success lies in his brilliant ability to marry tradition and innovation – the union of which is apparent in the continued vibrancy of the British brand Burberry since his status as Creative Director in 2001. Now poised to helm the brand as CEO as well, we take a look at the designers creative genius.
Burberry is best known for its exquisite trench coats lined with the brand’s signature plaid and pre-Bailey, well…Burberry was just that – a trench and a check print. But Bailey pays tribute to the Burberry trench by making it more appropriate to the here and now, and more approachable to discerning fashionistas. Bailey updates the trench coat and decks it in shimmering metals, red plastic, Lurex plaid, beaver-trimmed leather and ruched chiffon.
Burberry’s Spring 2013 collection showed exactly how Bailey likes to transform the classics – metallic trench coats lit up the runway like beacons leading us to a new sartorial dimension.
And for Fall/Winter 2013, we get a glimpse of Bailey’s sense of playfulness with a whimsical collection entitled, Trench Kisses which sent coats down the runway sporting animal prints, heart motifs and metal colours. “You know Burberry has been around for a long time – 158 years – but then I like the idea of this quite cheeky idea of kisses and sexiness and something a little bit kinky contradicting that kind of very established classic thing,” Bailey tells Reuters after the presentation.
As someone who proactively oversees Burberry’s overall image, including corporate art direction, advertising and in-store design, Bailey not only takes full advantage of digital tools and social media (Burberry was among the first luxury brands to livestream its fashion show) but he also makes sure to inject the brand with recognisable youth and beauty. He revived Burberry ad campaigns with vigour and timeless appeal through fresh-faced beauties such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kate Moss and Emma Watson.
Perhaps just like one of the company’s product lines, Burberry Prorsum (the fashion house’s motto meaning Burberry Forward) represents, that’s where the brand is heading to – a powerhouse that encompasses fashion, lifestyle, technology and beyond. And how privileged we are to get to witness the many more milestones Bailey will make through the Burberry empire.