Christopher Bailey took his final bow at Burberry this afternoon after 17 years with the brand. His swan song saw all of his signatures – including aviator jackets, check visors, ponchos, macs, logo sweaters – feature in a collection that was a fitting finale for the man who has been credited with transforming the British heritage brand’s fortunes in the past two decades.
With a reputation for being one of the highlights of London Fashion Week – always boasting the starriest front row, the biggest venue and the best model line-up, not to mention countless pinch-me moments – Bailey’s send-off was always going to be special. The show began with a cabaret-esque lights show by Australian artists United Visual Artists, and ended with a rainbow laser show that perfectly captured Bailey’s departing message in support of LGBTQ+ communities.
Taking place in the Victorian grade II-listed Dimco Buildings (previously used as a location in Who Framed Roger Rabbit), the A-list turnout did not disappoint, with Sienna Miller, Chelsea Clinton, Naomie Harris, Alexa Chung, Lily James, Matt Smith, Kate Mara, Jamie Bell, Domnhall Gleason, and of course Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, who turned up last, all there to see Bailey’s denouement. Model of the moment Adwoa Aboah opened the show as predicted, while the ultimate Burberry girl Cara Delevingne closed it in a rainbow cloak.
Ahead of the show, it was announced that the collection would be a celebration of the LGBTQ+ communities, with a new rainbow check designed in homage to the group’s symbolic flag. The rainbow print was seen on puffa jackets, hats, trainers, macs, granny cardigans and slogan jumpers, which were emblazoned with the Burberry logo, not to mention the school assembly-style seats that guests sat on. There were also zip-up ‘90s silk bomber jackets, kilts, teddy bear coats, sequinned slip dresses and chandellier earrings, which all came together to create a thoroughly British punk vibe.
Talk turns now to who will replace Bailey, with former Celine creative director Phoebe Philo being in poll position. Her pared back aesthetic transformed the struggling French fashion house, with the designer credited with creating much-copied pieces – from pyjama shirts to sliders - that reflect what women actually want to wear. Having previously worked together with Burberry’s current chief executive Marco Gobbetti at Celine, the transition would be a smooth one, not to mention much welcomed in fashion circles.