Christopher Bailey is often described as the saviour of Burberry, and rightly so. Since his appointment at the British house in 2001, along with CEO Angela Ahrendts, he has transformed the company from what he described as a “trodden diamond” into the internationally renowned, luxurious and innovative brand that we see today, whilst still remaining true to its British heritage.
In an interview with Vogue last year, Bailey noted how upon his arrival, “Burberry was just in an old rut”, a “company based on past glory”. After targeting a younger market through the aid of digital media, the brand has just recently reached record sales of £1 billion after an increase of 18% in the last six months. British stars including Emma Watson, Eddie Redmayne and Cara Delevingne have all fronted the company’s campaigns while Samantha Cameron, Kate Bosworth and Keira Knightley are amongst the many celebrities wearing Burberry designs.
Bailey with models after the Autumn/Winter 2012-13 show
Speaking at Friday’s Vogue Festival, Bailey presented himself as the antithesis to the ruthless figure one sometimes associates with success in business with his humble, down to earth and incredibly normal persona. He discussed how he’s a sucker for Masterchef, loves Downtown Abbey and can’t wait to catch up with The Voice; a huge Will.I.Am fan, apparently.
Despite being an international name, Bailey stays true to his British roots. The Yorkshireman chatted about how he loves English weather; one minute it’s sunny, then hailing, then raining, then thundering. “It was lovely waking up this morning and feeling instantly uplifted by seeing the sunshine, but there’s something very poetic about the rain. There is something magical about the British weather”, he explained in coversation with Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman. Afterall, it was the gabardine raincoat that established Burberry and remains its most iconic piece. In the house’s most recent collection, the show closed with models parading down the catwalk clutching umbrellas, very fashionable ones of course, as a storm started on the soundtrack and rain ran down the tent’s walls.
His most recent venture, well one of many seeing as Bailey oversees every last detail of the brand, involves the opening of the Burberry’s biggest ever store on London’s Regent Street. His main aim across the stores? “I want Burberry to feel welcoming and inspiring, not intimidating or uncomfortable”. He doesn’t want visitors to feel they are unworthy of the brand and thus wants them to browse and explore the store, aided through its iPad collection, even if they have no intention of purchasing an item. The shop should to just be a “vanity project”, but a chance to immerse yourself into the brand.
Explore the Burberry world at Burberry.com
The company’s brilliant website and Facebook page are another way fans worldwide can absorb all things Burberry. Not only can you browse collections (Womenswear, Menswear, Childrenswear, Beauty, Fragrance, Accessories, Home&Gifts) but you can see a timeline of the brand’s history, discover new music through Burberry Acoustic, create your own bespoke trench and see the classic coat on customers all over the world with “The Art of The Trench”.
Though the company is growing by the minute, from a few hundred when he started to around 9000 employees worldwide, Bailey ensures that his team, what he described as the aspect of which he is most proud, stays extremely connected and informed about everything Burberry. Through their internal social media site, Burberry Chat, they aim to keep everyone in the know so that the inner-Burberry world stays small, not matter how big the brand becomes.
It seems there’s no stopping this talented individual who shows that to make it in this business you need talent, hard-work and ambition, but most importantly, a smile.