Burberry chief creative officer and chief executive officer Christopher Bailey, along with former chief executive Angela Ahrendts , has transformed the British trenchcoat maker into one of the most widely known luxury fashion houses in the world, reporting £2.5 billion in revenue in 2014. Bailey oversees the design of menswear and womenswear lines for Burberry Prorsum, Burberry Brit and Burberry London, as well as brand imagery for Burberry fragrances and Burberry Beauty.
In July 2016, Burberry announced that next year Bailey would hand over the title of chief executive to Marco Gobbetti — currently chief executive of Céline. In addition to his duties as chief creative officer, Bailey will also take on the role of president in 2017.
Bailey originally joined the heritage brand in 2001 as design director under the leadership of then-chief executive Rose Marie Bravo. In this position, Bailey was given responsibility for the brand's imagery and creative marketing, as well as its collections. In 2009 he was appointed as the company's chief creative officer. In 2014, this was expanded to the dual position of COO and chief executive — a new role that combines his existing position with overall responsibility for creating and delivering on Burbery's business strategy and global vision, which has seen the brand expand significantly into China. Since Bailey joined Burberry, the company share price has increased by over 500 percent and its profits by £350m, according to a statement by the company.
Since joining the company, Bailey has recast Burberry as a digital pioneer, spearheading innovative difital campaigns like the 'Art of the Trench,' with street style photographer Scott Schuman , and this year premiering the entire BurberrySpring/Summer 2016 collection on Snapchat a day before the catwalk show. Other initiatives include enabling customers to order product while watching Burberry’s runway shows and adding ‘smart personalisation’ tags to new season bags and coats that, when scanned in Burberry's stores, show videos of the products being made. The changing room mirrors within Burberry's flagship store on London's Regent Street can also scan and play the video clips. Under Bailey, the brand has pioneered a tech-infused 'retail entertainment' environment and omni-channel strategy that has seen it universally recognised for its next generation customer experience.
Advertising has played an integral role in Bailey’s repositioning of the company. Celebrated photographer Mario Testino lenses Burberry campaigns, which have launched the careers of Lily Donaldson, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Cara Delevingne and Edie Campell, and have included British actors Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and Sienna Miller.
In 2008, Bailey and Ahrendts also launched the Burberry Foundation and Burberry Acoustic, which aim to support emerging talent through sponsorship and exposure gained through shows at the company's flagship. The brand regularly collaborates with musicians and its shows have become well-known for their accompanying musical spectacles.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1994, Bailey cut his teeth working for Tom Ford at Gucci, where he was senior designer of womenswear from 1996 to 2001. Prior to his time at Gucci, he worked as a womenswear designer at Donna Karan for two years, where he first met Angela Ahrendts. He is married to the actor Simon Woods.
Bailey has won the British Fashion Awards Menswear Designer of the Year three times (in 2007, 2008 and 2013) and was crowned Designer of the Year, in 2009 — the same year he was honoured with an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list. In 2014, Bailey was pronounced Designer of the Year in GQ's Men of the Year Awards, before winning the Editor's Choice Award at the Elle Style Awards in 2015.