Sarah Burton steps down from Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton steps down from Alexander McQueen

by Ollie Cox
2 min

Sarah Burton is parting ways with Alexander Mcqueen after 26 years at the brand. 

The creative director leaves behind a rare longevity in the fashion industry. She first joined the brand as an intern during her time as a student before returning to the house after graduating from Central Saint Martins and working alongside McQueen for more than 14 years. She was made head of design for womenswear in 2000 where she would work closely with the brand’s founder.  

Burton was made creative director following the death of Lee Alexander McQueen in 2010 and the Spring 24 collection in Paris will be the conclusion of the partnership between Burton and the fashion house. 

Burton’s time at the brand will be marked by her balancing of the couture ethos with consistently well-received ready-to-wear collections. In 2011, she designed Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress, and was awarded an order of the British Empire in 2012 (OBE) for her services to the British Fashion Industry. 

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In the press release announcing the departure, Burton reflected on her time at the brand: “I am so proud of everything I’ve done and of my incredible team at Alexander McQueen. They are my family, and this has been my home for  the past 26 years. I want to thank François-Henri Pinault for believing in me and offering me this amazing opportunity. Above all, I want to thank Lee Alexander McQueen. He taught me so much and I am eternally grateful to him. I am looking forward to the future and my next chapter and will always carry this treasured time with me.” 

Burton was the only ever assistant to Lee Alexander McQueen, presenting her first collection as creative director during the Spring 2011 season, setting a precedent for the future of the house. The show was characterised by a softer approach, both in set and clothing design, and something that was continued throughout her legacy at the brand. 

Alexander McQueen started his eponymous label in 1992, known for his highly original designs, and technical ability, something learned during his time as an apprentice at Anderson and Sheppard, a Saville Row tailor. This design sensibility was fused with an immense artistry, which took the fashion world by storm. 

In 1996, McQueen succeeded John Galliano at Givenchy and four years later the Gucci group (now known as Kering) acquired a majority stake in the brand. 

Where Kering decides to take the brand yet is still unknown, though the luxury group stated that “a new creative organisation” will be unveiled soon.

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