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  • Writer's pictureJulianna Tramposch

Alexander McQueen Says Goodbye to Sarah Burton and Welcomes Seán McGirr

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

By Julianna Tramposch


The UK luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen is undergoing some intense

transformations this fall season. Sarah Burton began her career at Alexander McQueen in 1997

as an intern. She has been the creative director at McQueen for over 13 years following the

tragic suicide of McQueen himself. He was her mentor, and her work has helped carry out his

legacy through countless collections. Many people believed Burton was the only person who

could possibly fill the shoes of McQueen. And she did. As an extremely talented creative

director, Burton was known for preserving the heritage of Alexander McQueen while also

incorporating her own touch that was softer and romantic. This contrast between Burton and

McQueen, of the light and the dark, made McQueen's collections so emotional and

mesmerizing. Burton’s departure from McQueen reminds us to always expect the unexpected in

the world of fashion.

Burton shed no tears at the end of her final show, which took place at Paris Fashion

Week. The ending song was “Heroes” by David Bowie, which was a very fitting song because

Burton was like a hero to everyone at McQueen for keeping the name and legacy alive. Like all

of her collections, this final collection was stunning, a work of art, and a compelling exhibit of

femininity. She dedicated this collection to “Lee Alexander McQueen, whose wish was always

to empower women, and to the passion, talent, and loyalty of my team.” She goes on further to

say, “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” (Cathy Horyn, “Sarah Burton’s Stunning Final Bow”).

Burton will always be ingrained in the McQueen fashion house. The next person to take

on the position of creative director is Séan McGirr. Before joining the McQueen house, he was

the head of ready-to-wear at JW Anderson and has worked under Christophe Lemaire. He is a

graduate of Central Saint Martins of the University of the Arts in London, England. The CEO of

McQueen, Gianfilippo Testa, believes McGirr is the right person to succeed Burton due to his

experience, personality, and creative energy. His official appointment was confirmed in a press

release by Kering, the global luxury parent group of McQueen, on October 3, 2023. As the first

designer of the house who never had the chance to work with McQueen, many are intrigued to

see his work at McQueen.


Julianna Tramposch is a student writer for Boston University Fashion and Retail Association. She is a senior studying Public Relations and Hospitality.

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