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Sarah Burton presents her final McQueen collection to an emotional crowd

This season, we are breaking down the spring/summer 2024 collections with a new franchise, The Fashion Week Cheat Sheet. After speaking to the designers about their inspiration, their hero pieces, the faces on the catwalk and the names on the front row, we present everything you need to know about SS24.

Sarah Burton's final show for Alexander McQueen, where she has worked for 26 years, was a powerful one – opened by Kaia Gerber, closed by Naomi Campbell (who wiped a tear away on the catwalk), and culminating in a standing ovation from an audience that included Cate Blanchett, Elle Fanning and Yara Shahidi.

The designer announced that she was stepping down from the brand last month, confirming that spring/summer 2024 would be her final collection.

"I am so proud of everything I’ve done and of my incredible team at Alexander McQueen," Burton said in a statement. "They are my family, and this has been my home for the past 26 years. I want to thank François-Henri Pinault for believing in me and offering me this amazing opportunity. Above all, I want to thank Lee Alexander McQueen. He taught me so much, and I am eternally grateful to him. I am looking forward to the future and my next chapter and will always carry this treasured time with me."

Below, discover more about Burton’s last McQueen collection.

Theme and inspiration

Burton's impressive final collection was inspired by "female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood red rose and Magdalena Abakanowicz, a transgressive and powerfully creative artist who refused ever to compromise her vision," the designer explained in the show notes.

These themes came through in the dramatic prints and embellishments seen on knitwear, leather dresses, corsetry and through the slashed details on suits and gowns. The colour palette was black, white and blood red with smatterings of metallic gold. There was fringing, exquisite embroidery and more than a few red-carpet worthy gowns, which will go down in the house’s history.

The show was dedicated to the memory of Lee Alexander McQueen, "whose wish was always to empower women", she added, and to "the passion, talent and loyalty" of her team.

Hero products

Burton has always had an impressive knack for tailoring, and these pieces – many of which featured dramatic cut-outs or were emblazoned with blood red roses – will no doubt be favourites of this collection, alongside the beautiful floral knitwear and striking peplum pieces.

Who was there?

Friends of the house Cate Blanchett, Elle Fanning and Yara Shahidi were among the names to sit on the front row for Burton’s final collection, while Kaia Gerber and Naomi Campbell took to the catwalk.

cate blanchett
Dave Benett - Getty Images

To discover more about the spring/summer 2024 collections, head this way.

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