Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Portrait Of The Week - Sarah Burton

Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, was born and raised in Manchester as part of a five children family. After having attended a foundation course at Manchester Polytechnic, she moved to London to study Print Fashion at the renowned Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.

While pursuing her studies, her tutor Simon Ungless, a friend of Lee McQueen’s (aka Alexander McQueen) suggested she interviewed for a year’s placement with the designer. The interview succeeded and she joined Alexander McQueen in 1996 before graduating in 1997. Directly after ending her studies, she returned and continued her career there. She was named head of womenswear in 2000 and acted as McQueen’s right hand up until his tragic death in February 2010.

It is in May 2010 that her career came to a turn as she was named Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, thus replacing her very close friend and mentor. According to Jonathan Akeroyd, President and CEO of Alexander McQueen, no one better than Burton could take back the reins of the designs, as having worked with McQueen for more than 14 years she had a deep and thoroughly understanding of his vision. As a matter of fact, in order to maintain the company close to its core values, the new Creative Director had to have not only real talent and vision but a clear understanding of the brand.

Her first collection was presented in September 2010 in Paris and paid tribute to McQueen's dramatic aesthetics while adding her own feminine touch. It is evident that McQueen’s style was present as having worked with him for so long, she incorporated in her way of imagining outfits the genius’s vision, while she credits him for teaching her all she knows about design. Burton had what it takes to grab hold of the legacy while dragging it where it needed to go to survive. As per her own words: "People ask: what's Sarah about? But I've worked here for so long, there's been a big part of me in those collections all along the way." while added : "I'm not going to wipe the slate clean. That would be wiping me away. There will always be those McQueen elements, but at the same time, you can never stay still and you have to stay true to yourself. That's what Lee drummed in to me: you have to be able to stand behind your work."

Here are my favorite pieces of her first collection for Spring 2011.

In a very low-profile manner, she managed to give an homage to the unforgettable genius, while at the same time imposing and presenting her own creative talent and vision. Her collections are vibrant, theatrical, without falling into a caricature of McQueen’s work, extremely aesthetic and eye-catching. Colors, textures, cuts, and small details are thought over to present flawless and picture perfect outfits.

In other words, Burton took over a quite impossible challenge and succeeded entirely as she received approvals and appraisals from many important figures from the fashion world.

Also, take note that it is said that the British designer had been commissioned to design no other than Kate Middleton’s dress for her wedding to Prince William.

Finally, look at a few pieces of her latest collection for A/W 2011-2012. I just adore it, such a strong, edgy and yet utterly feminine line!!!

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