Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey sat down with Financial Times last week, ordered some parmesan gnocchi, and exuded such warmth and niceness that at moments, it seems like his interviewer wasn’t sure what to do with him.
Since Bailey joined the brand in 2001 (after leaving Gucci), it’s enjoyed a pretty significant surge of success, and the Brit has garnered a multitude of accolades, including the 2010 International Award from the CFDA. According to the article, he’s not concerned at the increasing accessibility of Burberry’s image; at shows, he wants even non-fashion people involved in the experience of “beautiful girls, handsome guys, nice clothes, good music.” And he makes the valid point that “these days a kid in a hoodie walks into a store and, for all you know, he’s a billionaire.”
Most glaring, however, is Bailey’s apparent obsession with being a nice guy. He enthusiastically thanks the waitress, expresses serious concern that Vanessa Friedman (his interviewer and FT’s fashion editor) hasn’t had her side dish delivered, tries to foot the bill, and appears to be a frequent user of words like “amazing” and “delicious.” And there’s a bit of an odd, if endearing moment, when the two part ways:
Then he asks how I am getting back, and offers to drop me at the FT because he is taking a cab too. But isn’t that in an entirely different direction from Burberry headquarters? I say. He allows it is. We agree to go separately.
We get the feeling Friedman doesn’t quite buy the “shtick,” as she calls it, but the fashion industry could probably use the good karma of a guy like Bailey. Looks like the British really do have better manners.