It’s been two years since Sarah Burton was appointed creative director of Alexander McQueen. Since then, her success at the label has been nothing short of a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Following the tragic and sudden loss of Lee McQueen, his design assistant for over 14 years was immediately thrust into the large gap that the English enfant terrible of fashion had left. Aside from the mourning of such a close friend, the expectations on Burton to continue his legacy were another heavy burden for the Manchester-born designer to carry.
But rather than crumble under the pressure, she excelled. From the delicate, earth motherly collection for Spring/Summer 2011 with which she made her debut to the futuristically astounding designs for this season, Burton has stepped out of the shadow of Lee McQueen to become a distinguishable design talent in her own right. Here is a woman who unarguably embeds the label’s DNA into every piece, but has considerably lightened up the overall feel of every collection from the at times dark and tortured soul that we knew and loved about the late designer’s collections to something softer, but equally breathtaking.
There is not just her accomplishments at the main line label to praise: having debuted the brand’s diffusion line McQ on the runway in a military and forest-inspired show this London Fashion Week, as well as establishing its first standalone boutique in the capital, Burton isn’t just continuing the brand founded by her mentor, she is reviving it. Managing to guide the label from a desolate tragedy into a bright future, it’s safe to say that Lee McQueen wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.