Friday, June 09, 2006

Christopher Bailey (2005)

He's loved by everyone: The famous US-Magazine "Forbes" called the chef designer of Burberry, Christopher Bailey, 2005 as the "Most inspiring Designer of the Year" and his home country England honoured the 34-year old as "Designer of the Year".

Mr. Bailey, lets say a higher power would forbid the wearing of a trenchcoat - would it be the end of Burberry?

Yes. Definitely. The trench is the soul of Burberry, it is its foundation, its history, its future. everything i am doing here actually goes back to it. its disspearance would be my personal tragedy: Since i was a teenager i've visited these so-called "Jumbo Sales" in Yorkshire - a kind of old-clothing-sale for churchly and charitably purposes. i have owned tons of trenchcoats.

What changes where you allowed to do at the design of the famous burberry trenchcoats?

Just tiny ones. As i came to Burberry I have resized the A-Form a little bit and cut the sleeves a bit tighter. Ee dont change the classic form because of fashionable, but cultural reasons, as i call it. When for example the silhouette gets changed enormenous or the proportion.

That changes in a designerlife around four or five times. doesnt really sound like an exciting job...

I can play with the form in the Prèt-a-Portèr-line "Burberry Prorsum" however I want. I can design a trench of silk chiffon or of brocade. I could even reduce the trench to the epaulettes. The main-thing is that you can walk in the rain with it and you stay dry.

Is a britain guy needable to design Burberry?

Its definitively helpful when you've grown up in England. you should understand the nuance of our culture. Things easily become a chliche for a foreigner whats englisch: for example the classical suit or punk.

Yeah. We know that...

You see, exactly the pictures that you have in your mind arent right. All of these britan styles can never look perfect, like you thought about it too much. There are so much more multi-layered. Of course Ii know about that because I've been grown up here. On the other side, I am not even 100% britain. My grandma was an italian seamstress. But I dont even look very italian...

But then with 34 years like an under-aged college-student...

Which also isnt always an advantage. When i appear at one of these analysts meetings of Burberry then I recognized how some may ask themselves: Who is this ludicrous bloke there in the front-row?

You mean, they dont know who's Christopher Bailey?

Yes, exactly. Burberry isnt the designer or the chief executive officer. Burberry is Burberry. At the entrance of the store it doesnt says "Bailey", it says "Burberry".

Do you may belong to the new designergeneration "of the second-row" like Frida Giannini at Gucci or Phoebe Philo at Chloé?

Yeah, I count myself in them. And often we even arent in the second-row, we even feel comfortable in the Background. I love it to work in a team.

You're a little scared on the runway. Just a short protuberance, a little wave and bye bye! After two seconds youre dissapeared.

Its foreign and a bit embarrassing for me to stand in front of the audience after the show. I can understand that every fashion label needs a face, it gives the product the soul. The people are curious and the purchaser wants to know whos the guy behind the coats they wear.

Isnt there any space to be an egonomical creative in the fashion business?

I think, we're the first generation that understood that designers can get famous very fast, but also crash down that fast. We know that the so-called gorgeous fashionworld - nightlife, glamour, sex and what ever it says - isnt even sparkling half that great inside than it seems on the outside. Our business is not a very attractive world when you consider it realistic.

How creative can you be in a fashion group?

Most of the people believe that you cant be at all. But thats not right, the opposite is the truth. Because not just, because there is the money to try new things, but also because big fashion houses always have to be very innovative to expand. The sales figures have to be right, the turn overs have to be big, thats extremely important.

Its not long ago where it said "Bars ban Burberry" in London. Who worn caps with the pattern didnt got in because many hooligans wanted to get under cover with them.

That was just a media story, but it shows a lot about us. Burberry is a democratic label, that dresses the man on the street, even the hooligan and at the same time the royals. And the trench is the most democratic clothing ever, it has nothing to do with lifestyle, power, class and age. The queen wears one, as same as the punk. The word "exclusive" isnt allowed for us.

The keyword of the luxuryindustry isnt allowed?

Exactly. Exclusive means that you dont wanna have some people. Thats chesty. Nobody wants a hooligan, but every britan needs a trench. we own an ideal: a basical respect for all people.


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