Sarah Burton to exit Alexander McQueen after two decades

The successor to Lee Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton will leave her role as creative director after showing her S/S 2024 collection later this month

Alexander McQueen S/S 2020 women's at Paris Fashion Week
Alexander McQueen S/S 2020
(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

After more than two decades at the British house – with 13 years as creative director – Sarah Burton is set to exit Alexander McQueen following the presentation of her S/S 2024 collection in Paris later this month.

‘I am so proud of everything I've done and of my incredible team at Alexander McQueen,’ Burton said in a statement issued by Kering, the luxury goods conglomerate which owns the house. ‘They are my family, and this has been my home for the past 26 years.’

‘I want to thank Francois-Henri Pinault for believing in me and offering me this amazing opportunity,’ she continued. ‘Above all I want to thank Lee Alexander McQueen. He taught me so much and I am eternally grateful to him. I am looking forward to the future and my next chapter and will always carry this treasured time with me.’

Burton became creative director after McQueen’s death in 2010, having worked with him for over a decade as the designer’s right hand. She had joined the then-fledgling label in 1996 as an intern after graduating from Central Saint Martins – McQueen was also an alum of the British art school – and would become head of womenswear in 2000. 

Burton proved a natural successor, her collections marrying rich beauty with undercurrents of subversion and darkness, oftentimes derived from British myth and folktale. Craft was also central to her approach, with garments taking hundreds of hours of handwork and featuring dramatic flourishes of beading and embellishment.

Sarah Burton to leave Alexander McQueen

Woman in Alexander McQueen black suit

A look from Sarah Burton’s penultimate A/W 2023 collection, shown in Paris earlier this year

(Image credit: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

But it was her design for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress – now Catherine, Princess of Wales – which would rise Burton to global fame. Featuring a nine-foot-long train and crafted from ivory silk tulle, the lace appliqué was handmade by the Royal School of Needlework and featured Britain’s symbolic flowers, from roses and thistles to daffodils and shamrocks.

Her acclaimed collections have seen her claim numerous awards and plaudits, including a 2012 Order of the British Empire (OBE) and the 2011 Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.

Gianfilippo Testa, CEO of Alexander McQueen, says: ‘We would like to express our immense gratitude to Sarah for writing such an important chapter in the history of the Alexander McQueen house. Sarah’s contribution over the past 26 years will leave an indelible mark.’

François-Henri Pinault, Chairman and CEO of Kering, adds: ‘I am immensely grateful to Sarah, and I want to personally thank her for her work over the past two decades, first alongside Lee Alexander McQueen, where her role was instrumental to his success, and then as the Creative Director since 2010.

‘Through her own experience, sensitivity and talent, Sarah continued to evolve the artistic expression of this iconic house. She kept and continued Lee’s heritage, attention to detail and unique vision, while adding her own personal, highly creative touch.’

Kering have confirmed that a new creative director will be ‘announced in due course’.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.