Post by TM
Before Cara Delevigne was an actress/author/whatever she was a Burberry model. Five years ago, her image, blown up five times the size of reality, frolicked with a similarly gigantic Eddie Redmayne outside the Seoul department store I passed by daily. Wearing Burberry trench coats, the familiar check pattern was displayed proudly within the wing of the coat, finally settling it: Burberry was a luxury brand that toffs and toff supermodels wore. What chav connotations? That, was Christopher Bailey’s Burberry.
Widely regarded as being the highlight of this month’s London Fashion Week, Christopher Bailey showed his last collection for the label and bowed out of Burberry after 17 years.
Though not exactly a household name, Bailey is a designer who is known by name despite his designer identity defined by a non-eponymous brand. He was responsible for reinventing Burberry as a brand rockstars could wear without irony. By recruiting a conveyor belt of famously cool faces to model the hip new iteration of the brand’s classics.
By “taking a languishing and not especially desirable brand, then turning it into a global success”, former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman credits Bailey with writing “the ultimate 21st-century fashion fairy tale. And what a modern fairy tale it is; Bailey was one of the first creative forces behind fashion who embraced technology and used it to Burberry’s advantage. For one example, Burberry was the first to live-stream and live-tweet shows.
He assumed a dual role in 2014 as CEO and creative director, a move that backfired. Interest in his collections began to wane, and a management position given to a man with no formal business training simply didn’t work. He relinquished the role in 2016, became ‘President’, and announced his split from Burberry last year.
Despite the rocky last years, his AW18 show was a final reminder of what he did for the brand. The theme was ‘Time’, the thread that bound it together was a dedication to LGBTQ+ – in a nod to his early collections, the Burberry check was reinvented once more in rainbow hues – and never a more star-studded FROW had ever been assembled.
The show paid homage to the Burberry of the not so distant past. Cara Delevigne closed the show wearing the entire week’s iconic piece, the Rainbow coat, donning that Burberry peaked cap.
None of the collection was a joke, though, and in this age of comfort over ‘pain is fashion’ style, the collection featured pieces that will be all over the fashion pages from next week on, and copied on the high street come August.
Don’t expect a new age of the Burberry boycott, though. Most of the trends Bailey sent down his last ever Burberry catwalk were made to be worn with fondness by everyone. And that’s how his legacy shall be.
So what trends will everyone be taking from Burberry from this week and into the rest of the year?