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Chris Bailey fashion designer

Updated on February 26, 2015

Chris Bailey was born in Halifax; Yorkshire his father was a Carpenter and his mother a window dresser for Marks and Spencer. When Bailey was growing up he would watch his father build things through his carpentry which inspired him. At school, his art teacher noticed his flair for creativity encouraged the youngster to try his hand at fashion. Following his teacher's idea he applied and won a two-year placement at The Royal College of Art in London which he graduated with a master’s degree in 1994. Donna Karen a fashion designer spotted the twenty old Bailey when she visited the College so impressed was she after seeing his portfolio featuring Quakers, North African and British cultures. Discovering his potential she offered him a job as a clothes designer at the Karen’s signature collection in New York.


Arriving in New York he was right-hand man to Peter Speliopoulos a designer whom Bailey spent most of this time working with. It was to be a learning curve for the young Bailey, as well as exposure to the world of clothes design. During his thirty months of working and living in New York, he met Tom Ford a designer who offered him a job at Gucci. Deciding to take up his offer Bailey returned to Europe and stayed in Milan at Gucci for around five years. Bailey meanwhile started a serious relationship with designer Geert Cloet when he was in Milan, a brand designer for Miu Miu. For Bailey his time there was invaluable, his sketches along with Ford’s mentoring helped him to build on and develop his abilities as a senior designer. In 2001 Bailey set about looking for new challenges in his career, when Rose Bravo the managing director of Burberry was looking for a replacement after the creative director of the company left. Ford recommended Bailey after he expressed his desire to move on, accepting the position at Burberry. In his new role, Bailey concentrated his energies on rediscovering Burberry traditional women’s clothes. He achieved this by completely redesigning the clothes a wide variety of clothes from coats to dresses for cocktail party‘s. Including the advertising of the Brand, Storefronts for it shops and its Corporate Art. Bailey was in charge of the new Burberry store when it opened in New York’s Soho 2002. While back in England, he continued to transform the image of Burberry with its new range of contemporary silhouettes, fabrics and finishes. Cloet the long term partner of Bailey was diagnosed with brain cancer, on returning to England they both decided to settle in Yorkshire. The following year he passed away from cancer.

Bailey along with the new managing director of Burberry Angela Ahrendts set up the Burberry foundation in 2008. A charity organisation which provides helps young people by enabling them to fulfil their potential. In the same year, Bailey oversaw the redevelopment of Burberry Global Headquarters at Horseferry House in London. Bailey in 2009 was awarded an MBE for his achievements in Fashion. More recently in 2012 he married his long-term partner, whom he met in 2009 film actor Simon Woods in a civil ceremony in Chelsea London.

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