Sarah Burton is departing Alexander McQueen’s Creative Director role after over 13 years at the job. The house of Alexander McQueen announced Burton’s departure on September 11, 2023, ahead of Burton’s final bow during Paris Fashion Week.

Burton got the job at Alexander McQueen back when Lee McQueen himself was overseeing his eponymous house. She worked with the designer for over 14 years before becoming the Alexander McQueen Creative Director in May 2010

In a press release, Alexander McQueen promised to announce a “new creative organization for the house… in due course.”

“I am so proud of everything I’ve done and of my incredible team at Alexander McQueen,” Burton said in a statement. “I want to thank [Kering CEO] Francois-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.”

Burton has left an indelible impact upon the house’s menswear, womenswear, and accessories line during her nearly 30 years at the house of McQueen.

Under Burton’s tenure, for instance, Alexander McQueen gained international fame for its Oversized Sneaker, which has since become even more inextricable from the house than the skull logo ideated by Lee McQueen himself.

In terms of ready-to-wear, Burton’s McQueen evolved the ideas put forth by Lee McQueen.

Her output was less provocative, perhaps because the era in which she worked is inured to envelope-pushing creativity, but she imparted an unimpeachable sense of elegance to the decades-old brand.

Burton’s McQueen was creatively unrestricted but stylistically refined, frequently denoted by crisp, tailored menswear and womenswear that was subversively formal. Burton would upset a tuxedo with crystalline embellishment, for instance, or transform a flowing evening gown with exaggerated, petal-like hems or stripes of paint.

Often, she’d infuse signature McQueen elements into a contemporary work, subtle enough for the fans to pick up on but overt enough to not be mistaken as imitation.

Though Burton was leading McQueen during the time of Savage Beauty and corresponding Met Gala, the exhibit’s emphasis was on her mentor. Still, her work for McQueen is in the Met’s permanent collection, indicative of her lingering influence on the house that McQueen built.

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