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Burton and Beyond: Sarah Burton exits Alexander McQueen

Burton and Beyond: Sarah Burton exits Alexander McQueen

After 13 years, Sarah Burton will no longer be the Creative Director at Alexander McQueen. Her final show will take place this month at Paris Fashion Week.

With countless loss and departures of visionaries from fashion houses, it’s as if the cosmos disenfranchised humanity with accustomed sublimity of art and fashion. And with its status quo, only a handful of long-standing fashion houses have survived the scarcity of sartorial beauty. Case in point: Daniel Roseberry and his playful interpretation on Schiaparelli’s surrealism. Casey Cadwallader must find his stride, perhaps dialing down the Mugler cutouts, while Peter Do’s debut at Helmut Lang leaves room for improvement. Additionally, Virginie Viard remains a hopeless case at Chanel, and now, Sarah Burton’s departure at McQueen marks a significant moment.

The HF Twt (High fashion Twitter) fell to their knees—just as X (formerly Twitter) user @itgirlenergy captioned her post on Sarah Burton’s departure at Alexander McQueen. The online fashion community was left heartbroken upon learning about Sarah Burton’s upcoming retirement at the helm of McQueen. This means the Spring 2024 collection will be the final outing of Burton for the house. Sarah has been a long time resident artisan at McQueen, her stint lasted for about 2 decades. Needless to say, It’s hard to say goodbye after her 26-year run which she utterly left an indelible mark on the brand.

Sarah Burton’s early beginnings at Alexander McQueen

Before taking over the Creative Director role, Burton commenced her stint at McQueen as an intern. Just like the typical ‘from intern to full-time employee’ narrative, the English designer ventured into her official fashion career at the couture roof of McQueen following her graduation at Central Saint Martins. She worked closely with Lee McQueen himself and later got promoted to head of design for womenswear. Unfortunately, Lee McQueen’s tragic death in 2010 compelled her to take over his position. Many thought she had one of the toughest jobs, taking over the brand as Lee McQueen redefined and broke barriers during his tenure. Burton did not fall short. She took the job and masterfully continued the legacy which won many plaudits. She received a couple of prestigious awards including the ‘Trailblazer Award’ from CFDA.

Photos Courtesy of Vogue, X/@Muglerize, and Town and Country Mag

Her legacy at McQueen also includes one of the most iconic bridal gowns in British royal history. Kate Middleton commissioned the English designer for her wedding gown in 2011. Her work features a gown that transcends tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterizes Alexander McQueen’s work. She’s also forged relationships with the stars who have graced the red carpet donning her vision and excellent craftsmanship. From Zendaya, Jessica Chastain, Lady GaGa, Cate Blanchett to Taylor Russel, Timothee Chalamet, and not to mention a slew of custom looks for Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour. Burton never misses a beat.

Her collections also cements her legacy as one of the excellent artisans to look up to. Her keen eye to details, which manifested in beauteous intricacies of her designs; exquisite tailoring mixed with her unique vision. That is peak art and fashion, and Sarah ceaselessly displays her prowess.

Photo Courtesy of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar

A celebration of craftsmanship and success

Lee McQueen captured the hearts of fashion enthusiasts through his distinctive approach to clothing. Through the years, he offered avant-garde and provocative designs, dark and always leaving a beautiful mystery while Burton took notes of Lee McQueen’s work; she carried on the heritage while added her own spin and flair for romance and refined elegance. A celebration of craftsmanship and at the same time paying homage to Alexander McQueen’s tenets.

Moreover, the numbers also prove Burton’s success at the house during her tenure, contributing to growth in sales from P13 billion in 2014 to P50 billion in 2022. The head of the luxury conglomerate who owns McQueen expressed his gratitude to Burton for her unwavering service and talent. The English designer also attributes her success to the team and the CEO for trusting her vision for the brand.

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Photo Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

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.

Sara Burton

Her work at McQueen will definitely go down in fashion history. She’s one of the artisans who commits to delivering excellence in craftsmanship and sartorial beauty. This is why it’s hard to let go of Burton for McQueen. Another ‘Alessandro Michelle exiting Gucci’ tale that marks a significant loss. Will she be opening her own line or will hop on to other fashion houses that need some sartorial providence? Who knows, but whatever she’s onto it will be worth watching!

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