Sarah Burton

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It’s couture week in Paris; but we’re a show down on the schedule: Givenchy, which under Riccardo Tisci has held an up-close-and-personal presentation of a handful of elaborate pieces, is taking time out to, well, ease up on the pressure. Meanwhile, it has emerged that Alexander McQueen will also not be holding a show in March during the autumn/winter shows, as its creative director, Sarah Burton, pictured left, will be on maternity leave.

Instead they will have a small presentation; a variation on the tactic Celine’s Phoebe Philo used when she was last pregnant. Her show fell in her third trimester and decided to eschew the stress of a full show for small talk-throughs with tiny groups.

Could it be that both the corporate and creative sides of the business are beginning to think shows may not be the crucial component of a business they have been previously considered? Holy hemlines, Batman! Read more

Forget Belgium; Bernard Arnault should follow a number of his compatriots and move to the UK. The small country to the North (sorry) certainly appears to be doing its best to woo the mogul — aka France’s richest man, aka chairman of LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate — anyway, by vaulting him up the honours ranks. Today, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced the Queen is giving M Arnault the relatively rare KBE, for “services to business and the wider community in the UK.”

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I was struck yesterday, watching the Duchess of Cambridge at the culminating jubilee ceremonies in her cream lace Alexander McQueen dress, that had I not gotten a zillion emails telling me it was an Alexander McQueen, I never would have guessed it – and that this what-you-see-versus-what-you-assume-gap may become something of a problem for the brand. Read more

The powers that be are spinning the British Fashion Awards as the triumph of the women — Victoria Beckham took home designer brand of the year; Stella McCartney, the red carpet award; Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, designer of the year; Mary Katranzou, emerging talent — but as far as I am concerned the real stories are elsewhere. Of the above, only one, Katrantzou, shows in the UK. Meanwhile, two (Tabitha Simmons and Dellal) are actually shoe designers. And a third (Christopher Kane) won a new award invented for this year’s ceremony. Hmmmmm.

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British Fashion Awards 2011 - London. Sarah Burton with the Designer of the Year award. Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Sarah Burton, Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards 2011. Ian West/PA Wire

Take a wild guess who won the designer of the year award at the British Fashion Awards last night. Yup, it was Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. A well deserved win, given her acclaimed royal wedding dress and the sensitive way in which she has interpreted Alexander McQueen’s legacy, but not really a surprise. It was the first of many not-really-a-surprises at the awards, held in London’s Savoy hotel, which is probably a good thing, indicating that there is a consensus behind which British names are ones to be confident about.

Mary Katrantzou, who won the Emerging Talent – Womenswear award, is fast becoming a highlight – if not the highlight – of London Fashion Week. Not only are her bold and unusual prints arresting, they are also tailored to be highly wearable and fairly commercial. The question of when a designer is no longer deemed to be emerging can be a problematic one though; there’s often no clear moment when they become – like a butterfly from a chrysalis – fully formed. Read more

Since this is a royal wedding, every little bit of the royal wedding dress actually has symbolic meaning, and roots in different parts of British industry.  Read more

So the answer is in: Sarah Burton did indeed make Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. A major British brand for a new British royal.

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This fashion week has been aflood with more rumours than India after the monsoon. First there was the stream of gossip about who will get the Dior job (one last suggestion: two names that haven’t been part of the conversation at all — Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. They’re young, have a jones for French couture shapes, but a way to make them jazzy, are fluent in the worlds of twitter and youtube, and have no hang-ups about working with businessmen. But that’s just me.) And now we have the “is Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton making the royal wedding dress?” tsunami. Read more

Today, Alexander McQueen announced it was taking control of its second line, McQ, after the current spring/summer 2011 collection. For the last five years since its launch, McQ has been produced under license by an Italian firm, SINV SpA. Its current creative director, Pina Ferlisi, will continue in that role, under the guidance of Sarah Burton, current creative director of the main line. This is interesting, for a few reasons.

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