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Defining Moments: Commencement Day

New designers made their debut at the helm of well-known fashion houses.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/08/2010

The sophomore album is the trial-by-fire of the music world. In the fashion realm, it’s making a debut at the design helm of a well-known fashion house. That’s why hats were tipped to Sarah Burton for her spectacular stepping out as creative director of Alexander McQueen following the founder’s suicide earlier this year. According to Sarah Rutson, fashion director at Hong Kong-based Lane Crawford, Burton “did the impossible, filling almost an unfillable pair of shoes.” Beyond being faithful to McQueen’s DNA with her ode to paganism and high craft, the 35-year-old put her own stamp on the runway collection—and an extensive showroom offering.

This story first appeared in the November 8, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“We are completely behind it and want to bring Sarah Burton out to present the collection with a trunk show,” Rutson said. Having spent her entire 14-year fashion career at the elbow of McQueen, Burton learned plenty from her master, but is a sunnier sort. “I don’t think it has to have as much angst in it. I think it will be softer,” she said of her approach.

Despite a chaotic still-life presentation, Giles Deacon made a good first impression as creative director at Emanuel Ungaro, helping people forget Lindsay Lohan’s laughingstock attempt to revive the august house. The focus was back on vivid prints, feminine draping and a vivacious, Parisian spirit that put the house back on the radar. “Every important retailer and store director came and sales were positive,” Deacon reported.

Carving out a niche for luxury streetwear, new kid on the block Julien David’s first full clothing collection was picked up by the likes of Colette and Le Bon Marché in Paris, Webster in Miami and Isetan in Japan. The Tokyo-based French native, who launched two years ago with a silk scarf line, this season introduced around 60 ready-to-wear pieces marrying noble fabrics with edgy prints and unconventional silhouettes. The collection was inspired by the resurgence of BMX culture. Bestsellers included oversize shirts splashed with Liberty-inspired tire-mark prints made up, on closer inspection, of itsy-bitsy bike parts, as well as transformable rainwear.