Goodbye to Bailey’s Burberry

By: Josie Washburn

This past October Burberry announced its long-standing President and Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey, will step down at the end of 2018. The news was hardly a surprise to the fashion industry, and came amid rumors that Bailey’s 16-year-reign at the iconic London fashion house was coming to an end.

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Before the departure was even officially announced, many began to try to figure out who would take his position. And while nothing has been confirmed (the newly free position is yet to be filled), most speculation seems to circle around the same list of names: Phoebe Philo, Stuart Vevers and Riccardo Tisci (who recently left Givenchy).

In a year where creative directors Riccardo Tisci and Claire Waight Keller left Givenchy and Chloe respectively, it seems the fashion industry is attempting to shake things up across the board.

“I’d love to see Phoebe take the wheel and just totally reinvent the look,” says Barney’s personal shopper Michelle Goodman.

And while it’s fun to ponder who will take the Burberry throne next, Bailey’s departure brings with it an incalculable measure of nostalgia. Since starting in 2001 he’s taken the brand from struggling quality raincoat maker to one on the cutting edge of fashion. Along the way picking up celebrity endorsements from the likes of Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne.

Bailey brought the brand into the future in more ways than one. Burberry’s show in September 2016 followed the now trending see-now-buy-no model. Every piece featured on the runway was available for purchase immediately following.

“The pieces from the show were up on the Barney’s site immediately, and it was really fascinating to see which ones sold out within a matter of hours,” says Goodman.

Bailey’s name became synonymous with Burberry, and his mark on it may likely be everlasting. Alongside former CEO Rose Marie Bravo, Bailey was able to keep the quality and timeless style of the brand and take it into the 21st century. Ultimately making it a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry alongside industry favorites Louis Vuitton and Dior. And while Philo’s sleek, edgy take on the brand would certainly be compelling, Bailey will undoubtedly be missed. So raise a glass of Pimms to him, cheers.

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