Former Burberry chief creative officer and president Christopher Bailey, along with former chief executive Angela Ahrendts , transformed the British trench coat maker into one of the most widely known luxury fashion houses in the world, reaching £2.5 billion in revenue in 2014. Bailey oversaw the design of menswear and womenswear lines as well as brand imagery for fragrances and beauty. In October 2017, after 17 years at the helm of Burberry, Bailey announced his departure from his role effective March 2018.
After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1994, Bailey worked as a womenswear designer at Donna Karan for two years, before moving to Gucci as senior designer of womenswear under Tom Ford ’s creative direction. It was during his time at Donna Karan that he met Angela Ahrendts.
Bailey joined Burberry in 2001 as design director under the leadership of then-chief executive Rose Marie Bravo. In this position, he 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, and, in 2014, this was expanded to a dual position to include chief executive, a title he held until July 2017. In the newly created role as president, Bailey will work in partnership with Gobbetti to oversee all elements of brand and design.
Since joining the company, Bailey has helped recast Burberry as a digital pioneer, spearheading innovative digital campaigns including the “Art of the Trench” with street style photographer Scott Schuman , and being one of the initial big luxury brands to utilise Snapchat (Bailey premiered the entire Burberry Spring/Summer 2016 collection on the platform a day before the catwalk show). Under Bailey, the brand 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’s campaigns, which have starred models including Lily Donaldson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Cara Delevingne , as well as globally-renowned British actors like Emma Watson , Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and Sienna Miller. Under Bailey's leadership, the heritage brand was also a pioneer of "see now, buy now," unveiling its first collection using the new fashion-immediacy model in September 2016 at London Fashion Week. The consumer-facing concept also saw the launch of Maker's House, the label's Soho-based show space, that also acts as a brand-focused exhibition pop up open to the public for a limited time after each show.
In 2008, Bailey and Ahrendts launched the Burberry Foundation and Burberry Acoustic, which aim to support emerging talent. The brand regularly collaborates with musicians and its shows have become well-known for their accompanying musical spectacles. He has won the British Fashion Awards's Menswear Designer of the Year accolade 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 and 2017 Bailey was announced Designer of the Year in GQ's Men of the Year Awards, and the following year he was honoured at the Elle Style Awards with the Editor's Choice title. His final collection for Burberry, which debuted on the Saturday of London Fashion Week in October 2018, was dedicated to LGBT youth.