Mirfield-born Christopher Bailey, who has decided to leave Burberry, will be remembered as an innovator who re-set the brand’s “cool” credentials says a fashion expert with the University of Huddersfield.
Writing on his blog Stephen Wigley pointed to the “fairytale” nature of Bailey’s career, which included stints with Donna Karan and Gucci before he joined Burberry in 2001. Eight years later he was appointed Chief Creative Officer (CCO).
“During his time at Burberry, Bailey reset the brand’s cool credentials to become arguably Britain’s defining fashion icon and applied revolutionary techniques to its digital and social media marketing, and store concepts,” says Mr Wigley.
“As a result, Burberry became a fashion phenomenon garnering commercial success, critical plaudits, and forcing the previously conservative luxury fashion world to embrace digital communications and social media.”
Bailey’s promotion to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was seen by some to be a bold experiment that ultimately failed leading to shareholder discontent over faltering sales, a declining share price and director remuneration becoming an increasing distraction.
In 2016 Marco Gobetti took over as CEO with Bailey retaining his role as CCO. That perceived demotion, says Mr Wigley, hinted that Bailey would look to move on.
“While his abilities will almost certainly be in demand by every fashion business around the world, perhaps Bailey’s next move will be to strike out on his own – emulating the legendary Tom Ford who, after turning around Gucci, felt there was little else to do but begin his own brand, in his own vision.
“Whatever he decides to do, the fashion world will await Christopher Bailey’s next move with anticipation.”