Christopher Bailey has stepped down as the President and former Chief Executive behind the fashion powerhouse Burberry this month following a dazzling final show full of poignant messages and an increasing number of fur protests. It has been announced in recent days that Burberry CMO, Sarah Manley is also going to follow suit and will leave the position in the next few months.
Following a 17-year career which saw Bailey play a pivotal role in the transformation of the brand, it has been reported by The Guardian that a drop in key-market sales has resulted in the decision. He is expected to receive around a £12 million ($16.5 million USD) payout.
Despite the long-anticipated resignation, it was his final catwalk show that has triggered the most interest in the past two weeks. Set in a large West London venue, it was a collaboration with London based United Visual Artists that saw the setting adorned with rainbow lasers and light installations originally inspired by the light show ‘Our Time’ from the Museum of Old Art and New Art in Australia. Adding to this was an emotional celebrity-filled audience and a number of swinging light pendulums designed to respond to movement, sounds and echoes reports online publication DeZeen,
Amidst cries outside the venue coming from reportedly the largest gathering of fur protesters so far, one of the themes for this month’s show aimed to highlight the brand’s support for the LGBTQ+ community by revamping its classic check pattern with rainbow colours. As a number of stars graced the catwalk, a majority of them donned the Burberry check design in rainbow tones that stood to symbolise both the LGBTQ+ flag and the brands’ financial support to related charities.
The classic trench coat that has been a staple of the men and women’s Burberry image also faced a shakeup in the final show as another key focus pointed towards 1980s- and 1990s-style streetwear. Featuring oversized shell suits, baggy check trousers and logo sweatshirts, the show harked back to the Burberry ‘chav’ era and also looked forward to the likes of designer street brands Supreme and U.K based Wavey Garms. Perhaps it’s time to dust off those old-school tracksuits as the 1990s streetwear look set to be a salient theme this year. On Wednesday morning, fashion label Lacoste also displayed catwalk looks with bucket hats and brit-pop enthused outfits.
Although Bailey’s tenure is now up, the legacy of this show certainly gives a nod to an exciting future image for Burberry. At this point, however, it is unclear who is set to fill the shoes of this position.