Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton
The show goes on
Sarah Jessica Parker summarized it all: “In many ways, the Manchester-raised Burton is the antithesis of a star designer, with a gentle warmth and humility that belie her considerable talent, knowledge, and technical skill. Nevertheless, her work so far at the helm of McQueen has drawn the spotlight to her.”
With curator Andrew Bolton, Sarah Burton helped pull together the blockbuster retrospective “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which became one of the most-visited exhibitions in the museum’s 142-year history. She was inscribed into the history books after creating the elaborately embroidered gown that Catherine Middleton wore when she walked down the aisle with Prince William. But perhaps most importantly, Burton’s three critically acclaimed collections for McQueen have demonstrated her mastery of the extreme dress-up and tortured romanticism central to the house codes, as well as the formidable strength of her own voice as a designer, imbuing it all with a feminine lightness and a fragile vulnerability.
In the process, she has not only allowed Alexander McQueen’s name to live on but also to remain at the center of the conversation in fashion in a way that her former boss—the consummate showman—would have loved.
In 2012, Burton took things a step further, creating a collection of hyperfeminine lace and ruffled-chiffon dresses, but all with subversive touches— face-obscuring lace masks, black leather appliqué—that injected the clothes with some signature McQueen sharpness. To end the year well, she collected her Order of British Empire from Buckingham Palace after being named in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honour’s List.