11 July 2012

Sarah Burton

Sarah Jane Burton, OBE (née Heard, born 1974)[1] is an English fashion designer, currently creative director of fashion brand Alexander McQueen. She designed Catherine Middleton's wedding dress for her wedding to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in April 2011.[2][3]

Early life

Burton was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, one of five children of Anthony and Diana Heard.[1][3] She attended Withington Girls' School in Manchester.[2][3] After completing an art foundation course at Manchester Polytechnic,[4] and opting to pursue fashion over studies in fine art, she studied Print Fashion at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.[3] During her third year she was interviewed for a year's placement at Alexander McQueen at the suggestion of her tutor Simon Ungless, a friend of McQueen's. She joined the company for a year as an intern, when the company was based in a tiny studio in Hoxton Square.[3]

Fashion career

Catherine Middleton with Prince William on their wedding day, wearing the wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton
On graduation in 1997, she joined the company full-time as McQueen's personal assistant. Burton was appointed Head of Womenswear in 2000,[3] during which time she created dresses for Michelle Obama, Cate Blanchett, Lady Gaga and Gwyneth Paltrow.[5] Following McQueen's death in February 2010, and after company owner Gucci confirmed that the brand would continue, Burton was named as the new creative director of Alexander McQueen in May 2010.[6] In September 2010, Burton presented the first McQueen womenswear collection she had wholly created in Paris.[7]
On 29 April 2011, it was revealed that Burton had designed the wedding dress of Catherine Middleton for her marriage that day to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Burton's work came to the attention of Middleton in 2005 when she attended the wedding of Tom Parker Bowles, the son of the Duchess of Cornwall, for whom McQueen had designed the wedding dress for his bride, fashion journalist Sara Buys.[5] Made by the Royal School of Needlework, Burton said creating the royal wedding dress had been the "experience of a lifetime".[8][9]
Burton also designed maid of honour Pippa Middleton's dress,[10] and the dress that Kate Middleton wore to the wedding's evening festivities.[11]

Personal life

Burton lives in St Johns Wood with her husband David Burton, a fashion photographer.[3]


On November 28, 2011, Sarah Burton won the Designer of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards.[12]
In July 2012, Burton received an honorary degree from Manchester Metropolitan University where she was a former student, becoming an honorary Doctor of Arts.[4]
On 16 June 2012,[13] Burton was appointed an OBE in the 2012 Queen's Birthday Honours list.[14]


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