‘I really think that creating clothes and fashion has to be a statement about how we live and where we live and what’s happening in the world’.
Have you heard about Alexander McQueen? If you have not been hiding under a rock for a long time, probably you have. Have you ever thought that Alexander McQueen was a lone genius? Then you may be surprised that this is not totally true. In fact, Sarah Burton lived underneath his shadow for 14 years. Today she is is Creative Director for Alexander McQueen Trading Limited. Now let’s start from the beginning.
Sarah Burton was born Sarah Heard in Cheshire in 1974. Her early years elapsed between Withington Girl’s School, Manchester Polytechnic and Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London. During her third year in Central St Martins she was interviewed for a year’s placement at Alexander McQueen at the suggestion of her tutor Simon Ungless, a friend of McQueen’s. She joined the company for a year as an intern in 1996 and rejoined full time upon her graduation the year after.
Sarah Burton was appointed Head of Design – Women’s wear in 2000, designing dresses for personalities such as Michelle Obama, Cate Blanchett, Lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow. Following McQueen’s death in February 2010, and after company owner Gucci confirmed that the brand would continue, Burton was named the new Creative Director of Alexander McQueen Trading Limited in May 2010. She helped shepherd to completion Lee’s last collection for Fall 2010, which was in progress when Lee died, and pulled together the blockbuster retrospective ‘Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute with curator Andrew Bolton, which became one of the most-visited exhibitions in the museum’s 142-year history.
On 29 April 2011, it was revealed that Burton had designed the wedding dress of Catherine Middleton for her marriage that day to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Burton was named the 100 most influential people in Time Magazine on April 2012 and was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the British fashion industry which was announced on June 16, 2012.
Some of the gorgeous designs of Sarah Burton may be found below for your delight:
As Sarah Burton told Golden Globe-Nominated Actress Sarah Jessica Parker about the Spring 2012 Collection:
‘I think there is a romance to it, but it is slightly hard and more fetishistic. I think that we wanted to do something that was really about hyper-femininity. It was a difficult show as well, because the third show is always a tricky show. I had a sense that I wanted to make it very couture, very worked. Really about the way a woman is sort of an object of desire, but she’s an object of desire for herself, and the way that we adorn ourselves. The idea of heightened embellishment. And so we looked at all kinds of goddesses, and we kind of went to the sea and looked at the inside of shells and at colors that maybe could’ve been a little bit sickly. We used pinks and corals, and almost took it to an extreme of femininity, really.’
Andrew Bolton, the curator of a record-breaking exhibition of McQueen’s work at the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2011, said :
‘McQueen has become much more refined under Sarah’s hand. She has continued the themes of Lee’s work but they are much softer. What’s different is that McQueen was very autobiographical, he was a confessional poet in a way. Sarah is very different, very private. The bees show [for SS2013] was a celebration of sex and birth and nature, a constant theme in McQueen’s work. That’s something Burton revisits in most collections. She is not punk or dark in the way that he was, she’s romantic in a softer way’.
‘There’ll always be a McQueen woman. She is a strong woman and she is a powerful woman, and when she puts a McQueen jacket on, she feels different. the way she stands is different. The way she moves is different. It’s almost like the clothes are slightly empowering. There’s this emotion that goes into the clothes’.
We hope that you like this humble tribute to Alexander McQueen and his legacy, continued by Sarah Burton with a firm hand on the tiller. It is not a secret that Lee’s creations have been a source of inspiration for us for a long time and all we can say is… the King is dead, long live the King!
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