Burberry & The Death of Aesthetic Alchemy

The New York Times: “Christopher Bailey’s decision to step away from Burberry, a brand with which he was almost synonymous, underscores a new belief in the fashion world that it is no longer expected, or even desirable, for a designer to remain at a house for a long period of time. And it further redefines that role as less of an aesthetic alchemist and more of an employee with a transferable skill set.”

Luca Solca, an analyst, writes: “We believe this is a necessary move to make Burberry exciting again. Creative directors — like all artists (painters, composers, singers) — tend to produce variations on a theme. Most brands that have gone through a revival had to first find new creative resources.”

“Like Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, Mr. Bailey’s skill lay in taking the major ingredients of a heritage brand — in Burberry’s case, the checks, the trench coat and its roots in the British countryside — and continually moving them toward the abstract and into a cooler, more contemporary aesthetic. He was among the first designers to embrace the digital age.” However: “Aesthetic inspiration seemed to have been traded for strategic change: under Mr. Bailey, Burberry was among the first brands to merge multiple lines at different price points into a single offering, combine the men’s and women’s shows into one, and move to a see now-buy now system in which clothes became available as soon as they were shown.”

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