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Alexander McQueen: Sarah Burton’s bittersweet farewell

They played David Bowie’s Heroes at the finale of Alexander McQueen, summing up the reign of Sarah Burton at the house, in her final show for the brand.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2024 – Courtesy

The shy and retiring designer for once taking an extended bow walking around the circular runway and embracing Anna Wintour and her now former patron, François-Henri Pinault. 
The son of the dynamic French billionaire François Pinault, who put together the luxury conglomerate now known as Kering, Francois-Henri still has not revealed who will succeed Burton.

It was a sadly bittersweet moment for many people who knew Lee McQueen, who had little time for Anna Wintour. Indeed, he once pointedly made sure she was not allowed into one of his shows.
It was a final catwalk display which brought down the curtains on a 14-year interregnum, which began when Burton succeeded Alexander McQueen after Lee’s sad death in 2010 in Green Street, London.
A collection that highlighted Burton’s considerable skills as a designer, masterly tailoring; a gothic sense of grandeur; bravura draping and a love of posh punk.
“This collection is inspired by female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood red rose and Magdalena Abakanowicz, a transgressive and powerfully creative artist who refused ever to compromise her vision,” explained Burton, who was promoted to follow McQueen from his own staff.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2024 – Courtesy

The huge wall hangings of Abakanowicz, a Polish fiber sculptress, were posed around the all-black Carreau du Temple, a glass roofed 19th-century market, while the guests perched on plywood boxes. Abakanowicz’s dark visions of the human form leading the show to earn the title ‘Anatomy II’. Her germinating, blooming fabric sculptures reflecting Bruton’s brilliant tenure at the house of McQueen. An acolyte that grew into a savant.
A show which began with Kaia Gerber in a perfectly cut black redingote with a blood red laced spine and climaxed with Naomi Campbell in a silver open-heart corset and looped bugle bead skirt.
Burton in full throttle with leather bustiers in blood red leather; corset detailing jackets; gold shredded armor cocktails and a marvelous round-shouldered undertaker coat with red silk and viscose embroidery.
Full marks to hair and makeup: Afro wigs flourishing off the heads of Adut Akech, Mariacarla Boscono and La Campbell granting them an otherworldly appearance.
“The show is dedicated to the memory of Lee Alexander McQueen, whose wish was always to empower women, and to the passion, talent and loyalty of my team,” Burton said, signing off in her program. An email pre-show had informed guests there would be no post-show interview or meeting with the designer. 
No successor has been name, nor have staff been informed internally when any announcement might be made about a new designer.
The lights have gone out in McQueen world.

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