SARAH BURTON GREW UP AND WAS EDUCATED IN MANCHESTER BEFORE MOVING TO LONDON TO STUDY FASHION AT CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS COLLEGE OF ARTS AND DESIGN. ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF A TUTOR, BURTON COMPLETED A PLACEMENT YEAR WITH ALEXANDER MCQUEEN IN 1996, REJOINING THE COMPANY FOLLOWING HER GRADUATION A YEAR LATER.
In 2000, Burton was made Head of Design for womenswear at Alexander McQueen, and in May 2010, promoted to Creative Director of the entire Alexander McQueen brand, having worked alongside McQueen for more than 14 years. In April 2011, she received global recognition as the designer of the wedding dress for HRH the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton, on the occasion of her marriage to HRH Prince William.
Since her appointment as the brand’s Creative Director, Burton has produced critically acclaimed collections with a focus on handcraft, establishing herself as a highly accomplished designer with artisanal and technical expertise.
Today, Burton supervises the creative direction and development of all the brand’s collections: women’s and men’s ready-to-wear and accessories, as well as McQ, which is also made up of women’s, men’s and accessories’ collections.
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN WAS BORN IN LONDON ON MARCH 17TH 1969, THE YOUNGEST OF SIX CHILDREN. HE LEFT SCHOOL AT THE AGE OF 16 AND WAS OFFERED AN APPRENTICESHIP AT THE TRADITIONAL SAVILE ROW TAILORS ANDERSON AND SHEPHARD AND THEN AT NEIGHBOURING GIEVES AND HAWKES, BOTH MASTERS IN THE TECHNICAL CONSTRUCTION OF CLOTHING.
From there he moved to the theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans where he mastered 6 methods of pattern cutting from the melodramatic 16th Century to the razor sharp tailoring which has become a McQueen signature. Aged 20 he was employed by the designer Koji Tatsuno, who also had his roots in British tailoring. A year later McQueen travelled to Milan where he was employed as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant. On his return to London, he completed a Masters degree in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martin’s. He showed his MA collection in 1992, which was famously bought in its entirety by Isabella Blow.
Alexander McQueen shows are known for their emotional power and raw energy, as well as the romantic but determinedly contemporary nature of the collections. Integral to the McQueen culture is the juxtaposition between contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and modernity, fluidity and severity. An openly emotional and even passionate viewpoint is realised with a profound respect and influence for the arts and crafts tradition. Alexander’s collections combine an in-depth working knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, the fine workmanship of the French Haute Couture atelier and the impeccable finish of Italian manufacturing.
In less than 10 years McQueen became one of the most respected fashion designers in the world. In October 1996 he was appointed Chief Designer at the French Haute Couture House Givenchy where he worked until March of 2001.
In December 2000, 51% of Alexander McQueen was acquired by the Gucci Group, where he remained Creative Director. Collections include womens ready-to-wear, mens ready-to-wear, accessories, eyewear and fragrance (Kingdom 2003 and MyQueen 2005). Expansion followed and included the opening of flagship stores in New York, London, Milan, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.