Sarah Burton’s poignant farewell show for Alexander McQueen concluded with David Bowie’s «Heroes» playing at the finale, encapsulating the bittersweet chapter of her tenure at the renowned fashion house.
In an exceptional moment of spotlight, the typically reserved designer took an extended bow, gracefully circling the runway, and sharing warm embraces with Anna Wintour and her now former patron, François-Henri Pinault.
François-Henri, the son of the dynamic French billionaire François Pinault, who built the luxury conglomerate now known as Kering, has yet to reveal Burton’s successor.
For those who knew Lee McQueen, it was a poignant moment. Lee had little regard for Anna Wintour and once ensured she was denied entry to one of his shows.
This final runway presentation marked the end of a 14-year era that began when Burton stepped into the role after Alexander McQueen’s tragic passing in 2010 on Green Street, London.
Burton’s collection showcased her remarkable design skills, featuring masterful tailoring, a Gothic sense of grandeur, daring drapery, and a penchant for posh punk.
«The inspiration for this collection stems from female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood-red rose, and Magdalena Abakanowicz, a transgressive and powerfully creative artist who never compromised her vision,» explained Burton, who was promoted from within McQueen’s own staff to continue his legacy.
Giant wall hangings of Abakanowicz’s work, a Polish fiber sculptress, adorned the all-black Carreau du Temple, a 19th-century market with a glass roof. The guests sat on plywood boxes, surrounded by Abakanowicz’s dark visions of the human form, earning the show the title ‘Anatomy II.’ Her fabric sculptures, symbolizing Burton’s brilliant tenure at McQueen, provided a breathtaking backdrop.
The show opened with Kaia Gerber donning a perfectly tailored black redingote with a blood-red laced spine and closed with Naomi Campbell in a silver open-heart corset and looped bugle bead skirt.
Burton showcased her creativity with blood-red leather bustiers, jackets with corset detailing, gold shredded armor cocktails, and a stunning round-shouldered undertaker coat adorned with red silk and viscose embroidery.
Kudos to the hair and makeup team for their work, with Afro wigs adorning models like Adut Akech, Mariacarla Boscono, and La Campbell, giving them an ethereal appearance.
The program’s sign-off from Burton was heartfelt: «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.»
An email to guests before the show clarified that there would be no post-show interview or meeting with the designer.
No successor has been named, and staff internally await news about the new designer.
The lights have dimmed in the world of McQueen.