It’s one of fashion’s worst-kept secrets that there are lots of different types of designer. There are those who have never seen the cutting-room floor, and those who can’t stay off it. There are those who are phenomenal business minds, others who are creative geniuses, and quite a few who are merely figureheads or 'spokesmodels'.
And then there is that rare breed of designer who can do it all. As creative director of Burberry, Christopher Bailey oversees some 60 different men’s and women’s collections each year, including the Prorsum, Brit, London and Sport labels, plus childrenswear, denim, underwear, fragrances, homewear and all the accessories – bags, shoes, eyewear and jewellery. Under his control, turnover at the luxury brand has risen to £1.5 billion since he joined the company in 2001.
But when Grazia Daily was camped out in the label’s global headquarters before London Fashion Week, we were blown away by just how much involvement the 38-year-old has in every aspect of the business. Not only did he oversee the design and development of the Burberry HQs in London, New York and Tokyo; he actually designed the furniture (no really, he has it in his home too), travelled to Greece to ensure the stone for the floor would be the same colour as the classic trenches, and even picked out the floral arrangements (his favourite eucalyptus leaves). Bailey also oversees the advertising and brand image for the label, and regularly pops up on Burberry’s Facebook page. As of last year, he is a trustee of the Burberry Foundation, which he set up with Chief executive Angela Ahrendts.
So it made sense when news reached us this morning that Burberry has promoted Christopher Bailey from creative director to chief creative officer, a new position that reflects his involvement in the business beyond his designing role.
Ahrendts said the 153-year-old luxury brand was 'more cohesive than at any time in the company’s history', owing to the 'clarity, consistency, and purity of [Bailey’s] amazing vision'.
In a statement released this morning, Bailey added 'I am truly honoured and humbled to be recognised in this way. It is a real privilege to be part of the brand's great story and to be working alongside Angela whose passion and drive is not only inspiring to me, but is central to everything we do as a company. I salute all Burberry teams around the world who make this magnificent brand what it is today - a place of uncompromising energy and innovation. I couldn't be more excited about being part of the future of this, the greatest British brand in the world'.