Sarah Burton

Born: Cheshire, England, 1974

Designer Biography Sarah Burton

Credits & Copyrights: David Burton

Educated in Manchester, Sarah Burton studied for an art foundation course at Manchester Polytechnic. Burton then enrolled at Central Saint Martins studying Print Fashion.

On the recommendation of her tutor, Burton completed a placement year at Alexander McQueen in 1996. After graduating the following year, Burton joined the company as Alexander McQueen’s personal assistant.

Burton was appointed Head Designer for Womenswear in 2000. During her time as head designer she created dresses for Lady Gaga. Michelle Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow.

After McQueen’s death in 2010, Burton was named Creative Director of Alexander McQueen. Burton had worked alongside McQueen for over 14 years.

Her debut show for spring/summer 2011 showcased her detailed craftsmanship. She followed this with an autumn/winter 2011 collection focussing on handcraft/artisan techniques.

Burton designed Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress for her marriage to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. With help from the Royal School of Needlework, Burton also designed a second dress for the evening event worn by the maid of honour, Pippa Middleton.

Burton was awarded Designer of the Year award at the 2011 British Fashion Awards.

Burton is known for paying homage to McQueen’s dramatic style but adding her own feminine twist.

On April 29, 2011, it was revealed that Sarah Burton had the honour of designing the wedding dress for Catherine Middleton on her marriage to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Burton’s work caught Middleton’s attention when she attended the wedding of Tom Parker Bowles, and it is there that she saw McQueen’s creation for Bowles’ bride, Sara Buys. The experience of creating the royal wedding dress was described by Burton as the “experience of a lifetime.”

In addition to the wedding dress, Burton also designed the dresses for the maid of honour, Pippa Middleton, and the dress worn by Kate Middleton during the wedding’s evening festivities. For her remarkable contributions to fashion, Burton was named the British Fashion Council’s Designer of the Year in 2011.

Outside her professional achievements, Sarah Burton resides in St John’s Wood with her husband, David Burton, a fashion photographer. She has received several prestigious honours, including winning the Designer of the Year award at the 2011 British Fashion Awards and being appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for her services to the British fashion industry.

In recognition of her exceptional talent and influence in the fashion world, Burton received the Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti International Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in June 2019. Moreover, in November 2019, the British Fashion Council presented her with the Trailblazer Award, further acknowledging her significant contributions to the industry.

Sarah Burton Biography

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Written by Saxony Dudbridge

Saxony Dudbridge was one of the first contributors to the Catwalk Yourself project, Saxony studies International Fashion Marketing and she is responsible for our great History and Designers Biographies sections.

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