Naomi Campbell on the catwalk at Sarah Burton’s final Alexander McQueen show

The creative director is departing after 26 years at the iconic British brand. By Katie Wright.

Katie Wright
Saturday 30 September 2023 22:45 BST
Naomi Campbell closed the Alexander McQueen show at Paris Fashion Week (Alexander McQueen/PA)
Naomi Campbell closed the Alexander McQueen show at Paris Fashion Week (Alexander McQueen/PA)

Naomi Campbell played a starring role on the catwalk as Sarah Burton presented her last collection as creative director of Alexander McQueen.

The British supermodel, 53, closed the spring/summer 2024 show wearing a stunning silver ensemble comprised of a strapless beaded corset and a draped skirt that shimmered as she walked.

Cate Blanchett, who often wears McQueen at awards ceremonies, was on the front row at the Paris Fashion Week event.

The Australian actor was dressed in a black suit with a huge pink bow on the back.

American actor Elle Fanning – who stars alongside Campbell in the label’s autumn/winter campaign – was also in attendance, the 25-year-old wearing a full-skirted polka dot dress with a statement choker necklace.

The spring/summer 2024 collection represents the end of 26 years at the British fashion brand for Burton.

She was appointed to the role of creative director in 2010 following the death of Lee Alexander McQueen, having worked alongside the groundbreaking designer for 14 years.

Burton was responsible for creating the wedding dress worn by the Princess of Wales when she married Prince William in 2011.

Kaia Gerber – daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford – opened the spring/summer show in a short black corset dress.

With a keyhole cut-out on the chest, the long-sleeved dress hinted at the subversive designs that were to come.

Lee Alexander McQueen was the master of gasp-inducing fashion and for Burton’s final collection she served up plenty of suggestive slits alongside her usual bold tailoring and glamorous gowns.

“This collection is 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,” Burton revealed in the show notes.

“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.”

Burton is the latest designer to take inspiration from roses for spring, following Simone Rocha at London Fashion Week and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing in Paris.

The queen of flowers featured repeatedly, first in the form of photorealistic scarlet stems blown up on black and white slip dresses.

Later, a pair of ruffled pink and red ombre gowns resembled rose petals (as well as, it must be said, a certain part of the female body).

Exploring shape and volume, the designer sent out curved leather corset tops with exaggerated hips, shaggy coats and draped dresses.

Sharp-shouldered jackets were decorated with intricate crimson embroidery that looked like brushstrokes (or possibly blood stains), the ends of the threads hanging off to form flowing tassels.

The floral theme continued with an elaborately woven cream jumper and an opulent golden lace dress teamed with thigh-high leather boots, before the show culminated with some sparkling stand-out looks.

Burton has excelled at eveningwear throughout her time at McQueen, displaying almost couture-level craftsmanship, and this show was no exception.

A white tulle gown with glittering gunmetal adornments cascading across one sleeve and a form-fitting jumpsuit covered in silver beading were highlights.

Following Campbell’s star appearance, David Bowie’s Heroes played as the models took their final turn on the catwalk.

The audience was already on its feet applauding as Burton appeared to receive her standing ovation and hug VIP guests.

The house of McQueen has yet to announce who will take the take over as creative director.

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