After 17 years at the helm, Christopher Bailey, the British designer credited with helping transform Burberry from a small UK company into a global luxury brand, is leaving his post as president and chief creative officer. He will remain in his current role through March of next year (to show a final collection) before stepping down from the board and exit the company entirely by the end of 2018.
Christopher Bailey and Burberry
Bailey catapulted Burberry into the major fashion sphere through his elevated designs, show-stopping catwalk productions and ensuring he had the biggest names in fashion starring in his campaigns.
“He has been a huge influence on everything in fashion over the last couple of years,” said Jonathan Saunders, the Scottish designer who is now creative director of Diane von Furstenberg. “At one moment almost all young British independent designers went to him for advice about their business and career.”
About his departure, Bailey said in a statement,
“It has been the great privilege of my working life to be at Burberry, working alongside and learning from such an extraordinary group of people over the last 17 years.”
As for what lies ahead, Bailey only says,”I am excited to pursue new creative projects but remain fully committed to the future success of this magnificent brand and to ensuring a smooth transition.”
Bailey will be the seventh major designer to leave a prominent fashion job since 2015. Hedi Slimane left Saint Laurent, Alber Elbaz left Lanvin and Riccardo Tisci left Givenchy. Raf Simons went from Dior to Calvin Klein, Maria Grazia Chiuri (Valentino to Dior) and Clare Waight Keller (Chloé to Givenchy).
Burberry has made no announcement about a possible successor, however, Tisci and Elbaz are both yet to fill a new post. And rumors have been swirling that Phoebe Philo of Céline is looking to exit the Parisian label. (Burberry’s current C.E.O., Marco Gobbetti, worked with Philo at Céline).