After 17 glorious years of tenure, Bailey has unequivocally distinguished himself as a defining figure of the house by reshaping the label into a luxury brand through the repeated reinvention of the classic trench.
Sure enough, as Burberry said farewell to its Chief Creative Officer and President last Saturday (Feb 17, 2018) at London Fashion Week, Bailey took us on a trip down memory lane to review Burberry’s past through the use of the iconic plaid and trench coats. This was done in correlation with looking into Burberry’s future, as Bailey brought the heritage fashion house into the present by weaving progressive movements and modern day issues into its archives.
“I think we are living in such an interesting period, chaotic and upsetting and changing,” Bailey said backstage before the show. “I wanted to try and reflect that in some way in the collection.”
Highlighting gay rights and paying homage to LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) youth, Bailey’s last hoorah turned its lens to rainbow motifs — a reference to the internationally recognised gay pride flag which was incorporated into the signature check designs and puffer jackets.
Bailey became the first openly gay head of a company on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index when he was named Chief Executive of Burberry in 2014, so a collection as meaningful and symbolic as this was an all-too-appropriate (albeit tear-jerking) way to send off the creative director.
There was a rainbow cashmere turtleneck sweater, a plaid blanket cape detailed by a rainbow stripe, and the show culminated with a gorgeous rainbow faux fur trench coat worn by model Cara Delevingne. The collection was given a dash of 80s’ eclecticity with the mix of tracksuits, raver jackets, quaint couch florals and paisleys and a mish mash of bright fluorescent colours.
Then there were the classic trenches which Bailey has repeatedly reconfigured throughout the years — this time in beige as we’ve always known it and other military colours — as well as colourful knits layered under sheer t-shirt dresses, and maxi skirts worn with oversized hoodies and trainers.
"There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity,” Bailey mused before the start of the show. “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.”