Lee’s Legacy Lives On

Still in the haze of sleep this morning, I reached for my BlackBerry and with one eye open, scrolled through the news of the day.

Barely past 7 am, and today felt good already. News of Sarah Burton being appointed Creative Director at Alexander McQueen gave me a sense of closure somehow – closure after the shattering news of his suicide.

The longtime friend of Lee McQueen and his “right-hand” design assistant will now oversee the creations of all collections under the label dreamt up by Lee.

Burton, 35, worked with McQueen for 14 years and was appointed head of women’s wear design in 2000. She graduated from Central St. Martins in London – same as McQueen himself and was responsible for completing the brilliant FW10 collection, after his death.

Sarah Burton. Photo courtesy of Vogue UK.

With rumours of Gareth Pugh and Olivier Theyskens taking over the label’s design duties circulating for months, I felt an unease, a discomfort with that direction. They are both wonderful designers, but it didn’t seem fair to them – or to the vision that Lee built – to have someone else carry it forward.

Lee’s vision was so pure, so distinct that it really can’t be replaced in this life. He was an original soul.

The best possible choice for the evolution of the brand – the legacy of what McQueen built – is to have someone who knew him and worked with him so closely. I was secretly hoping that the powers that be at the Gucci Group would choose the right road. (I was just pondering it the other day, in fact.)

“The creation of modern, beautifully-crafted clothes was at the heart of Lee’s vision. I intend to stay true to his legacy,” Burton told Hilary Alexander of the Telegraph UK today.

Today’s decision gives me hope for the future of Alexander McQueen – the entity.

Congratulations to Sarah Burton – but oh, how bittersweet a day this must be for her.

She can take comfort in the fact that Lee is likely up there smiling.

And maybe his ethereal and restless soul can begin to have a little bit of comfort now, too.

-With files from Telegraph UK and Vogue UK

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