Christopher Bailey joined Burberry in 2002 at age 29, and this is his final collection, at a time when there has been a year or so of churn at some of the major fashion houses — an en masse passing of various batons. Vogue wrote a really nice summary that explains a lot of his influences and references from within the show; it includes:
For a man who has often spoken about being driven to make Burberry a “democratic” brand, and who’s now lived to see all the things that a working-class, homosexual boy like him would once have been bullied or looked down on for brought out in the open, accepted and admired? Amazing. That is surely why Bailey chose to wave farewell to Burberry in the way he did: with a collection full of the symbolism of gay pride and with a large donation to youth charities that support LGBTQ+ rights and mental health.
This feels very personal and like a joyful farewell; more of a street-style carnival than a serious red-carpet rumination. For more on Bailey, Vogue also did a long sit-down with him:
He wants to make a positive social statement around the already-announced Rainbow Check, his final symbolic use of the Burberry plaid, which is backed up with donations to three LGBTQ+ charities who work with young people. “I think this is a period of questioning and reflecting. We may have these values and this culture within these walls—but are we really living them? I feel I’m in a very privileged position to have a voice, to do something which may be a little controversial in some areas.” He shrugs. “Just reading the reaction on Instagram . . . which is generally supportive, but you do realize that there are great swathes of society that do not believe in equality, in differences, that love is love is love.”
It’s lovely to see him leaving with a bang, and not a complacent whimper.