Many things can happen in 17 years — just ask Christopher Bailey. The 47-year old designer just took his final bow as chief creative officer of British heritage brand Burberry, after a long and rewarding time at the house.
Early on, Bailey made his mark among a sea of fashion eccentrics by embracing the ever-changing digital landscape. Like the late David Bowie once said, "Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming." Christopher Bailey has always been one of those people. He was one of the first designers to champion live-streaming of fashion shows and became a pioneer of creating digital partnerships with numerous social media platforms. It was a genius recontextualization of fashion then, made easy and accessible for the rising influencer/blogger crowd of now.
So when it was announced that Bailey would be making his exit from Burberry a long 17 years later, questions naturally arose: What will he do?
These questions were put to rest on Monday, February 12, in an Instagram post on Burberry's account: an image of the brand's signature (and iconic) check layered under a rainbow. This wasn't exclusively an aesthetic choice, but rather a philanthropic one. Burberry announced that they would be donating and supporting three LGBTQIA+ charities: Albert Kennedy Trust, ILGA World, and The Trevor Project.
"My final collection here at Burberry is dedicated to and in support of some of the best and brightest organisations supporting LGBTQ+ youth around the world," Bailey's statement followed. "There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity." Evidently, Fall 2018 would serve as Bailey's own love letter to the community he himself is a part of. A most fitting choice, indeed.
From start to finish, the show packed a highly visceral punch. There were pieces inspired by the Burberry archives of the '60s, '70s, and '80s and plenty of colors in the form of rainbow flourishes on capes, coats, and sweaters. For the finale, a stunning laser light show illuminated the runway, a collaboration between Burberry and United Visual Artists. It was fantasy meets reality, flamboyance meets subtlety — an accurate reflection of all the beauty and intricacies that entail those who identify as LGBTQ+ Bailey promised us a celebration and that's exactly what we got.