Women Fashion Designers: Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen

As creative director at Alexander McQueen for almost 10 years, designer Sarah Burton has had plenty of career milestones.

Taking helm of the brand in 2010 following McQueen’s death, Burton has infused her own feminine and artistic vision with McQueen’s edgy style, continuing the late designer’s legacy in a way that’s been respected by much of the industry.

Burton has earned no shortage of accolades during her time in the fashion industry. In June, she will be the recipient of the Council of Fashion Designer of America International Award, created by Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti.

From her many honors to designing Kate Middleton’s wedding dress in 2011, here is a look at everything you need to know about Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton.

How did she get her start in fashion design?

Burton studied print fashion at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in the late Nineties. One of her instructors, Simon Ungless, introduced her to McQueen in 1996, who offered her an internship at his design house. After graduating, Burton became McQueen’s personal assistant and was subsequently promoted in 2000 to head of women’s wear.

How did she transition into creative director?

Following McQueen’s suicide in 2010, Burton was named creative director at the house. She presented her first collection without the late designer during the spring 2011 season and was applauded for the way she infused femininity into McQueen’s classic aesthetic.

What are some memorable moments from her career?

Catherine Middleton and Pippa MiddletonThe wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Westminster Abbey, London, Britain - 29 Apr 2011

Kate and Pippa Middleton wearing gowns by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.  REX/Shutterstock

Burton’s most memorable fashion moment came in 2011 when she designed the wedding dresses for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Middleton’s first dress was designed with an ivory, lace bodice and flowing satin skirt and train. For the evening reception, Middleton changed into another design by Burton for Alexander McQueen, which was a satin dress with a sweetheart neckline and beaded belt.

The designer also created the bridesmaid dress for Middleton’s sister, Pippa Middleton, which was a form-fitting cowl neckline dress.

What awards has Burton won?

Following the royal wedding, Burton received the Designer of the Year Award in 2011 at the British Fashion Awards. The following year, Burton was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She received the doctorate from her former Central Saint Martins instructor, Simon Ungless, who originally introduced her to McQueen.

Most notably, Burton was honored in 2012 by Prince Charles with an OBE, or The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire honor, for her services in the fashion industry.

At the upcoming CFDA Awards on June 3 in New York, Burton will be receiving the International Award, created by Garavani and Giammetti.

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