Did you know that Christopher Bailey, creative director of Burberry and one of the world's most influential designers, once worked in a Co-op supermarket – and had a Saturday job in a bridal shop?
Neither did I until last night, when I interviewed him in Selfridges as part of The Sunday Times Style In Conversation series before an audience of Selfridges customers and Sunday Times readers. He was in great form – talkative and funny – although he must have been tired after the Burberry Spring/Summer show just two nights earlier, followed by a party for 1,800 guests to officially mark the opening of the firm's new headquarters.
Christopher is not one to duck a question and he was very frank and honest about his career, affectionately recalling his time with Donna Karan in New York as a seminal experience and describing his interview for a job at Gucci with Tom Ford, which was conducted in a very large, rather dark bare room, with Tom sitting all alone in its centre. Did Christopher run? NO! He loved it – and fully got the essence of Tom's unique style. Tom said to him 'You can live wherever you like,' and Christopher soon knew why. His life was lived between London, New York, Milan and LA or wherever Tom happened to be at any one time. When he came to leave, Tom was as gracious as ever, even allowing him to keep his studio at Gucci for as long as he might need.
Christopher is a born communicator and he kept the audience enthralled as he explained the intricacies, problems and joys of his coplicated role. There was so much that fascinated the audience that I have been inundated with e-mails asking for a repeat performance!
As one smitten e-mailer commented, 'That man is just pure heaven!'