In news that has sent shockwaves through the fashion industry, Burberry announced today that president and chief creative officer Christopher Bailey will be leaving the British label.
"As Burberry begins the next decade of its journey, Christopher has concluded that after 17 years it will be the right time for him to pursue new creative projects," a press release stated. Remaining in his role until 31st March 2018, there is no indication of who might take the helm at the heritage brand – although a recent Business of Fashion report highlighted rumours that Phoebe Philo may soon be departing French brand Céline.
Burberry's chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti thanked Bailey, honoring the incredible turnaround he has performed at the fashion house, which was nearing death in the early 2000s, and is now one of the most revered shows on the LFW schedule. "Burberry has undergone an incredible transformation since 2001 and Christopher has been instrumental to the Company’s success in that period," Gobbetti's statement reads. "While I am sad not to have the opportunity to partner with him for longer, the legacy he leaves and the exceptional talent we have at Burberry give me enormous confidence in our future. We have a clear vision for the next chapter to accelerate the growth and success of the Burberry brand and I am excited about the opportunity ahead for our teams, our partners and our shareholders."
So, what's next for Bailey? Only time will tell. Of his departure from Burberry after nearly two decades, he said this, via press release: "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. Burberry encapsulates so much of what is great about Britain. As an organization, it is creative, innovative, and outward looking. It celebrates diversity and challenges received wisdoms. It is over 160 years old, but it has a young spirit. It is part of the establishment, but it is always changing, and always learning."
"It has been a truly inspiring place to work and the decision to leave was not an easy one. I do truly believe, however, that Burberry’s best days are still ahead of her and that the company will go from strength to strength with the strategy we have developed and the exceptional talent we have in place led by Marco. I would like to thank all my colleagues as well as Sir John Peace and the Board for all their support and faith in me over the years. 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."
As we celebrate everything Bailey achieved while in command of the British heritage brand, we wait with anticipation to see where Burberry's aesthetic will head next.