Burberry’s Greatest Style Hits Over 17 Years

On Saturday evening, Christopher Bailey serenaded London Fashion Week with his swan song for Burberry after 17 years at the helm. His final message was one of unity, creating a rainbow version of the classic Burberry check in support of the LGBTQ+ community — a move the brand is following through on in a series of initiatives with trusts and organizations. “There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength and our creativity,” Bailey said.

The epic 85-look collection was perhaps Bailey’s most experimental and creative to date, incorporating all of the brand’s hits over the years, from trenches, windbreakers, and Harrington jackets to scarves, caps, and capes. The shapes and styles were decidedly more street with oversized bombers emblazoned with BURBERRY / LONDON / ENGLAND in graffiti font, and shell suits with caps were covered in the classic check. Bailey left no stone unturned with bold velour jumpers reading “Burberry of London” in rainbow letters and baggy, red tracksuit bottoms slouched over checked penny loafers.

Famous for its show production as the biggest fashion house on the London schedule, the finale was a suitably spectacular rainbow light tunnel which the models walked underneath to the euphoric sound of Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” Cara Delevingne wearing a rainbow flag cape with beige check lining was the last out as the lyrics “Set me free” rang through. Bailey received a standing, dancing ovation as he took his bow, and we recalled Sarah Mower’s words in a recent feature on the designer in Vogue: “It’s time to stop and to say: Christopher, that was magnificent.”

Over the years, Bailey has delighted his guests with live music finales, featuring the likes of Alison Moyet, Paloma Faith, and James Bay. When we talk of British fashion, we talk of its cultural context alongside film, music, and art, and this crossover is where Bailey positioned himself during his time at Burberry. From Eddie Redmayne and Sam Riley to Emma Watson, Bailey had a habit of putting film stars in his campaigns, culminating in 2016 when he celebrated the brand’s 160 year heritage with a blockbuster film trailer entitled Tale of Thomas Burberry starring Sienna Miller, Domhnall Gleeson, Dominic West, and Lily James. It was so compelling, fans were calling for a feature-length version.

“Oh, I think you never really look at the successes when you’re inside a company, because it’s always a hill you still have to climb,” he told Vogue. “You’ve never reached the summit. […] As soon as you’ve finished a collection, you’re already in the next one. You’re always focused on the next thing, which I think is so amazing about this industry — it moves forward the whole time, I actually love the speed.”

As the first ever designer at a brand of Burberry’s scale to be named CEO and creative director, Bailey innovated the fashion industry, live streaming shows to the public before anyone else and installing the lightning quick ‘see now, buy now’ capability which enables fans to shop pieces straight from the catwalk. He’s taken risks, made giant leaps for fashion-kind, and done it all while being one of the nicest men in the business. And though we’ll miss his mark on the label, we’re also celebrating the significant impact he’s had over these past 17 years. Here’s some of our favorite moments.

Spring/Summer 2018

Adwoa Aboah opens last night’s show in a billowing white skirt with a rainbow stripe and a bulky art-school jumper.

Spring/Summer 2018

The final look of the final show: Cara Delevingne in a rainbow flag cape with signature check lining. Cara threw the cape up above her head as she exited the catwalk in celebration.

Fall/Winter 2017

The look that set Instagram alight last season, Adwoa brought back the Burberry cap, worn with a classic ’90s style Harrington jacket, oversized white T, and perfectly contrasted tulle skirt.

Photo: WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2017

Never too much, never too much. This vintage check plastic coat was the heart of the AW17 collection, where Bailey went to town updating lots of iconic Burberry looks and serving them with a streetwear edge.

Photo: Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images/The British Fashion Council.

Spring/Summer 2017

For SS17, Bailey collaborated with the Henry Moore Foundation, displaying the late artist’s sculptures on the catwalk, complemented by a collection which centred on shape.

Photo: REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2016

The quintessential London look with oversized lapels, layering and boots.

Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2016 (Men’s)

Bailey worked with twin sisters Ruth and May Bell on a memorable campaign for Spring 2016 where the pair wore the classic check scarves. The twins walked in the men’s show the following January, and this red duffle coat worn by Ruth was top of our shopping list.

Photo: Jonathan Hordle/REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2016

Lineisy Montero wears scaly sea greens with fishnet tights and biker boots in a perfect example of how to clash colour and texture.

Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2015

You’d be hard pressed to find a better trim on a denim jacket. Styled with a plastic yellow skirt and clean sneaks, this look on Malaika Firth makes us feel all nostalgic for 2014.

Photo: REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2015

Mica Arganaraz in a prairie dress feels as relevant now as it did then, showing Bailey’s versatility – from ultra feminine looks to hard masculine tailoring.

Photo: REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2015

Malaika Firth in an uncompromising full fringe look. This coat was made for the catwalk.

Photo: PIXELFORMULA/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2016

A very non-Binx look, this lace, lemon yellow tiered dress with slides is the outer limit of Burberry’s feminine side.

Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2014

Edie Campbell had huge runway success with this dramatic black haircut, contrasted brilliantly here with the most beautiful pale mint jacket, matching briefs and sheer dress. Perfection.

Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2013

Everyone remembers the “Quality Street collection” at Kensington Gardens with the show-stopping finale of models in electric metallic trenches like a sci-fi army. The show was Bailey’s nod to cinematic British glamour.

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Spring/Summer 2013

Another standout look from this show which turned so many heads, here’s Cara in a belted leather jacket every inch the 40s femme fatale.

Photo: Sipa USA/REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2012

Another finale to remember, for Autumn Winter 12, Bailey made it rain. We still don’t know how, but fake rain fell over the catwalk and the models, who looked like winter’s dream carrying brollys in belted coats and tweed Grandad caps.

Photo: Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2011

This show was inspired by Jean Shrimpton in the early 60s. Everyday black and white glamour.

Photo: REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2010

Spring Summer 10 heralded Burberry’s return to London Fashion Week, having previously shown in Milan. This pink ruffled take on the trench coat worn by Ranya Mordanova – one of the most sought after models that season with her signature black bowl cut – is as sweet as sugar.

Photo: Mark Large / Associated Newspapers/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2009

Bailey called this beautiful show “Garden Girls,” inspired by the English countryside and his own garden growing up in Yorkshire. It was an elegant, muted take on the classic trench and check, styled with droopy bucket hats.

Photo: Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2018

Sasha Pivovarova in a severe, embellished grey trench and Matrix style sunglasses showing Bailey’s hardcore side.

Photo: Olycom SPA/REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2006

Looking back through the archives, we were surprised to find Stella Tennant in a classic black tuxedo with a crisp white shirt. This look doesn’t seem to go with the Burberry we know, but shows the designer’s versatility and appreciation for cult classics.

Photo: Giovanni Giannoni/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock

Spring/Summer 2006

From the show reviews at the time, it seems Bailey was going for… a sexy Princess Margaret. We’re reminded more of English country girls in The Secret Garden. Either way, the looks are a summer’s dream.

Photo: REX/Shutterstock

Fall/Winter 2005

Daria Werbowy in the year of the very skinny scarf. Inspired again by Bailey’s Yorkshire country upbringing, this show was a smash hit with critics.

Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/Getty Images

Fall/Winter 2004

This collection was inspired by Virginia Wolf – perhaps not this specific look since plastic trenches aren’t very Bloomsbury Set but the tights and shoes at least.

Photo: Jun Sato/WireImage

Spring/Summer 2004

This was Kate Moss’ first catwalk appearance after a three year hiatus and the birth of her daughter. It was for Burberry, and for Christopher Bailey, that she chose to make her comeback.

Photo: Action Press/REX/Shutterstock

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