Alexander McQueen
Featured in Great British Brands 2020

Alexander McQueen

The house that embodies both the history and future of fashion

This year is the tenth anniversary of award-winning designer Sarah Burton’s appointed as Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, where she has married the house design codes and heritage with her own sensibilities and lightness of touch, cementing its place in both fashion’s history and future.


The past year has been a landmark for Burton; rooted in British culture, her collections have garnered increasing critical acclaim and her latest womenswear collection for Spring /Summer 2020 drew inspiration from Northern Irish linen, its farming, production and manufacture. Here clothing was designed with the spirit of community in mind – people taking the time to think, talk and make things together.


The collection’s embroideries were taken from sketches created by students from a Central Saint Martins MA Fashion life-drawing class, held in the flagship store on Old Bond Street, which opened in 2019. The three-storey introduces a new retail design concept and was conceived by Burton in collaboration with architect Smiljan Radic.

Founded in 1992 by the uncompromising and hugely talented designer Lee Alexander McQueen, in less than ten years the house became one of the most respected in the world

Alexander McQueen

The top floor is dedicated to inspiring emerging talent and has held archival pieces by Lee Alexander McQueen and Burton. Unlocking Stories, the first of a series of exhibitions curated by Burton, explores the creative process behind the garments, and opened in February. This was followed by a second exhibition, Roses, a beloved house symbol, at the end of 2019.


Integral to the house’s culture is the juxtaposition of contrasting elements: fragility and strength, tradition and innovation. The collections combine British tailoring with the finesse of French haute couture and the finish of Italian ready-to-wear.


Founded in 1992 by the uncompromising and hugely talented designer Lee Alexander McQueen, in less than ten years the house became one of the most respected in the world. McQueen was as an apprentice for Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard and Gieves & Hawkes before moving to theatrical costumiers Angels and Berman’s and completing his MA Fashion Design course at Central Saint Martins.


His graduate collection was bought in its entirety by British fashion editor Isabella Blow. Sarah Burton met McQueen in 1996, completed her degree at Central Saint Martins in 1997 and immediately joined the company. She became Head of Design, womenswear, in 2000.


Sarah Burton was presented with the CFDA International Award in 2019 and named Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2012. That same year Timemagazine listed her as one of its 100 most influential people and she was awarded an OBE for services to the British fashion industry.


In 2011, the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York organised the retrospective Savage Beauty to recognise Lee Alexander McQueen’s achievements. In 2015 the V&A hosted the exhibition, adding a brand new ‘London’ gallery as well of several of Sarah Burton’s designs. It was to become the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history.