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Sean McGirr 01
Photography Robin Galiegue

Breaking: Alexander McQueen’s new creative director is Seán McGirr

The former JW Anderson designer succeeds Sarah Burton as the new head of the house

It might be the last day of the marathon SS24 season, but fashion never sleeps – especially in its never-ending game of creative director musical chairs. Earlier this month [September 11], Sarah Burton announced her departure from Alexander McQueen after 13 years at the label’s helm. Now – two days after Burton presented her farewell, SS24 collection –  Alexander McQueen and Kering have officially announced the label’s new creative director: Seán McGirr

The designer – who cut his teeth at London’s Central Saint Martins before training with Dries Van Noten in Antwerp and working within Uniqlo’s creative offices in Paris and Tokyo – will join from his former position of as Head of RTW at JW Anderson, where he’s worked since 2020. “Alexander McQueen is a house we are passionate about, and we are confident that Seán McGirr will be able to pursue its journey with a new creative impetus,” Kering’s CEO – François-Henri Pinault – said in a statement on McQueen’s Instagram. “We look forward to opening this new chapter in the history of this unique brand.”

On social media, however, some users have criticised the choice, noting how the creative directors of the six labels under Kering’s luxury fashion group will now consist completely of white men. “While I’m happy for Sean McGirr’s achievements (he’s undeniably talented), I can’t help but find this image to be a rather bleak and backward vision for the fashion industry’s future,” one user wrote. Meanwhile, another user noted how quickly the announcement followed Burton’s last collection: “Sarah’s last collection for McQueen didn’t even get a second to breathe!”

Sarah Burton was appointed creative director of McQueen soon after Alexander McQueen’s death in 2009, having spent over 14 years working closely with the late designer. For her farewell collection, she paid homage to McQueen’s legacy of empowering women and to her team at the label.  ICYMI, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – in particular, Naomi Campbell [a long-time favourite of McQueen’s] was seen wiping away tears while she closed-out the show. 

“I am so proud of everything I’ve done and my incredible team at Alexander McQueen. They are my family, and this has been my home for the past 26 years,” the designer wrote in a statement released earlier this month. “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 the next chapter and will always carry this treasured time with me.” 

While we wait for McGirr’s debut show at the fashion house, read Kering’s full statement on his appointment here.