Sarah Burton to leave Alexander McQueen fashion house after two decades | Fashion

Sarah Burton, the creative director of Alexander McQueen who designed the Princess of Wales’s wedding dress, is leaving the fashion house after more than two decades.

In a statement released on Monday, Kering, the brand’s parent company, announced that its show on the 30 September during Paris fashion week will be Burton’s last.

“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,” said Gianfilippo Testa, Alexander McQueen’s chief executive.

Kering said Burton’s successor would be announced “in due course”.

The Macclesfield-born designer first joined the brand in 1996 on a placement year while studying at Central Saint Martins in London. She returned after her graduation and just two years later, in 2000, was named head of womenswear design.

After the death of the brand’s founder, Lee Alexander McQueen, in 2010 she was named as his successor and charged with continuing his legacy.

A year later, Burton shot to international fame when it was revealed that she was the designer behind the Princess of Wales’s wedding dress.

Burton was charged with creating the wedding dress for the Princess of Wales, then Kate Middleton. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

At the time, Clarence House said that she had chosen the British brand “for the beauty of its craftsmanship”. Burton described the process of creating the lace gown complete with 8ft train as “the experience of a lifetime”.

She has remained the princess’s designer of choice for events, including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018 and the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.

In 2012 Burton was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the British fashion industry.

Her departure was announced amid a broader restructuring at Kering, which also owns Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta.

McQueen, who founded the label in 1992, sold a majority stake to the Gucci Group – now merged into Kering – in 2001.

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The French conglomerate, founded by François-Henri Pinault, is attempting a major transformation in order to revive sales at its star label Gucci and give a new direction to the luxury group that in recent years has lagged behind LVMH, its biggest rival, which owns Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy, among others.

In November 2022, it was announced Alessandro Michele was relinquishing his role as the creative director of Gucci. Sabato De Sarno, his successor, will make his debut for the brand next week during Milan fashion week.

There has also been a reshuffle at a management level. This month Marco Bizzarri will step down as chief executive of Gucci, while the group has appointed Maureen Chiquet, former chief executive of Chanel, to its board of directors and named Francesca Bellettini, the chief executive of Saint Laurent, as head of the group’s portfolio of brands.

Last week, it was revealed Pinault will take a controlling stake in Creative Artists Agency, the Hollywood talent agency which represents A-listers including Brad Pitt and Salma Hayek, Pinault’s wife.

Pinault acquired CAA (reportedly at a valuation of $7bn) through the Pinault family’s investment company, Artémis, which owns a 42% stake in Kering. The venture marks a new direction for Pinaut, who has spent most of the past decade building a $40bn portfolio focused on luxury.


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