Burberry Cheif Design Director Christopher Bailey Talks To Interview Magazine

 What inspired you as a child to be a designer? Was it something you always wanted to do?
BAILEY: I really didn’t know that this kind of fashion even existed when I was a child in Yorkshire, England. My dad is a carpenter, a joiner, and I used to watch him make things. So I always imagined that I’d do something where I made things, too. I was really more interested in architecture growing up because I would work with my dad on houses. So fashion was, in a way, an accident. But this world opens you up to a lot of different avenues that interested me. I loved the idea of working in different countries. And I loved the idea of construction and working with imagery. But, yes, I fell into fashion a bit by mistake.
 Congratulations, by the way, on winning the CFDA award. You’ve won a lot of awards since you joined Burberry in 2001. Which one has meant the most to you?
BAILEY: It’s brilliant to get recognition. The CFDA was magic because it’s such a big award in our industry. There’s nothing more flattering than being honored by your peers. The British Fashion Awards are also very important because it’s my hometown. But it’s really a recognition of my team, and those awards give me an opportunity to thank them in a formal way. You and I have worked together enough to know that it really isn’t about two people. It’s a whole team. And so it’s great to acknowledge that you never do anything alone.
 You design all the collections—both menswear and womenswear—and you really have a voice in the branding of the label. You said you were interested in architecture as a kid—and you designed the entire Burberry building on Horseferry Road. How do you handle it all?
BAILEY: I’m fairly organized. I’m quite good at compartmentalizing things. I can go from a meeting to working on a building and then designing a fragrance and then working on a collection. You can do that when you build an amazing team. I’ve always loved working with people. It’s really not about ego—it’s about creating something we can be really proud of.
 You’re putting out a makeup line this fall. I guess that’s an organic move, since you already have the fragrance.
BAILEY: It was one of the only things I felt was missing whenever we were working on a show or a shoot. When we’d be talking about the look of the Burberry Girl, I found it really difficult to describe the natural makeup I wanted, which wasn’t plastered on and two-inches thick. The idea for this line was much more natural and relaxed. There is still a lot of old-fashioned romanticism about makeup—like a big face of cake all over you. So I developed this line from the attitude of what modern makeup is. I liked the idea of it being easy and elegant rather than something that was such hard work to apply. It took about two years to put it all in motion. It was a big project.
 Okay, so if you weren’t a designer, what would you be doing?
BAILEY: I’d be an architect.
 What do you love and loathe about fashion?
BAILEY: I love the energy, and I often loathe the deadlines. Read more.


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