As an icon British fashion house, Burberry’s show during London Fashion Week is always one of the most highly anticipated. This season, however, is especially meaningful, as its Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey’s final showcase after seventeen years at the helm of the brand.
The show opened with Adwoa Aboah in rainbow stripes on a white silk skirt and closed with Cara Delevingne under a rainbow fake fur coat. Puffa jackets and hi-top trainers came with rainbow stripes, and a trenchcoat and a blanket cape in a technicolor version of the iconic beige check.
As he is leaving Burberry, Christopher Bailey wants to make a positive social statement around the already-announced Rainbow Check, his final symbolic use of the Burberry plaid, which is backed up with donations to three LGBTQ+ charities who work with young people. “I think this is a period of questioning and reflecting. We may have these values and this culture within these walls—but are we really living them? I feel I’m in a very privileged position to have a voice, to do something which may be a little controversial in some areas.”
Bailey worked in elements from the Burberry archives, and even prints that Burberry had done under license in the Sixties and Seventies. There were looks from the Eighties, too, and many from his own tenure. “It’s a real mishmash of things. A mélange of all of that. The sentiment of the show is about the future and how exciting and positive it is. I hope it is. I’m an optimist, my glass is half full.”
“It’s quite a poignant collection just because it’s my last one, but it made me start thinking about the importance of time. I think we are living in such an interesting period, chaotic and upsetting and changing,” he mused before the show. “I wanted to try and reflect that in some way in the collection.”
Bailey has helped take the brand well beyond the classic trench coat, with ethereal dresses, chunky knits, and one-of-a-kind woven pieces. That said, he has also reminded us of the classics, incorporating said trenches, classic British silhouettes, and their iconic plaid pattern back into many of his more modern designs.
The collection also marks a shift in the company’s see-now-buy-now strategy, with only some runway looks going on sale immediately. Burberry plans to divide the year into multiple product drops, a strategy that dovetails with those of many other fashion and streetwear brands.
Christopher Bailey has gathered quite a loyal following over the years—Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, and Sienna Miller were all in attendance to support, along with the biggest audience of international editors any one show can house.
Bailey’s final Burberry show was the emotional peak of London Fashion Week. The designer is much-loved across the industry, and his long standing tenure at this British heritage brand has seen global growth and many an It piece. His bright goodbye collection proved that he will forever be known as the man who brought London’s luxury fashion house back to life. And what’s more, it was an important celebration of love — in all of its many forms.