In his tenure at Burberry, Christopher Bailey has transformed the British fashion house from historical tradition to a haven of fashion-forward modern luxury, while still keeping its strong cultural roots in tow. While some of his collections of seasons past took cues from specific British works of art and inspired an accompanying exhibition at the show's venue, this season's collection and its exhibition celebrates the spirit of British culture and fashion as a whole. "Here We Are" features a selection of photos curated by Alistair McLellan, Lucy Kamara Moore, and Bailey himself, that are meant to encapsulate what it means to be British. Bailey talked to PAPER via email after his show to give us more insight into the Fall 2017 collection and what this cultural exhibition means to him.
Tell us about the inspiration for this collection. Was there one specific photo that inspired you?
This show, both the collection and the exhibition, reflects many of the different worlds that I have always been intrigued and inspired by....often subconsciously. I knew I wanted it to celebrate a certain strand of British photography that I have always loved — one which documents the many and varied tribes and clans and classes that make up this island of ours. It's the spirit of those images that has guided this latest collection.
You said you love Social Portraiture. Is that something you think is particularly English?
I loved curating "Here We Are," which allowed us to explore such a wealth of beautiful photography. Whilst not all of the photographers are British, what I loved was the way that they all interpreted the many facets of what being British meant to them. I wanted to explore some of the different codes and identities, cultures, ceremonies, and traditions that make up what it is to me to be British. The exhibition provides a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh.
Tell me about the Old Sessions House and why you chose it as the venue?
I loved the decayed splendour of the building and the contrast of its grandeur alongside these more intimate rooms. The space has this magnificent sense of history, and we really liked the idea of hosting our contemporary exhibition in an ancient building.
What is the best thing about showing in London?
I love the tradition and history that sit alongside art, design and all the creative industries. This contrast and constant evolution create a very powerful atmosphere of dynamism and energy, and I am constantly inspired by London on so many levels.