Seventeen years at Burberry, and a lasting and final collection that resonated on so many levels, for Christopher Bailey, Autumn/Winter 2018, entitled 'Time' was amorphous in its weaving through not only the stories of the brand but the designer himself. Fluid in its reminiscing, ruminating and forecasting, this was less of an overtly nostalgic collection, but rather a cacophonous celebration of all things Burberry, British and Bailey.
Set against the backdrop of an industry in a poignant period of transition, not only in the shifts of many major designers, but also in the very way that fashion is being consumed and engaged with, Bailey at Burberry has always had a deep sensibility to this, at the forefront of innovation, merging fashion, arts, music and technology, an early adopter of the 'see-now, buy-now' revolution, live-streaming, not to mention his fusion of men’s and women’s collections on a shared runway. No less impactful then for his swansong, this was a collection that felt much freer than previous. With swirling rainbows on knitwear, leather and faux fur, Adwoa Aboah opened the show in a huggy graffiti-print fleece hoodie atop a rainbow full-length skirt, while for the final exit, Cara Delevingne resumed runway status to show a shearling cloak of every colour.
Splashy shell-suit style windbreakers, kilts, tulle skirts, rave parkas, embellished jackets, and paint-spattered and tie-dye skirts and dresses – this was a collection without boundaries, genres or classifications; in short, Bailey at his most liberated. Taking the baton from the likes of Demna Gvasalia and Alessandro Michele in the re-appropriation of 'knock-off'-style Burberry logos, the Nova check – as loved by counterfeiters and 'chavs' alike – and the newness of the Rainbow Check, a final symbolic use of that Burberry plaid that comes with donations to LGBTQ+ charities, and in his departure, Bailey took Burberry to new heights, and, to a new generation.