On Sunday, Sarah Burton took her final bow as creative director of Alexander McQueen. Today, her successor was announced. Seán McGirr, who was previously head of ready-to-wear at JW Anderson, will take over the Kering-owned house.
“We are delighted to welcome Seán McGirr as Creative Director,” said McQueen CEO Gianfilippo Testa in a press release. “With his experience, personality, and creative energy, he will bring a powerful creative language to Alexander McQueen while building on its unique heritage.”
McGirr is the latest in a string of relatively unknown but experienced studio hands elevated to fill some of fashion’s biggest job openings. At Paris Fashion Week, which ends today, rumors were flying that Burton’s successor would be a name-brand creative director. But Kering appears to be confident in a quieter approach to promotions, as with their appointment earlier this year of Sabato De Sarno to the helm of Gucci.
In a statement, Kering chairman and CEO François-Henri Pinault hinted at a creative shift in store for the brand, which was reportedly one of the luxury group’s fastest-growing going into the pandemic: “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. We look forward to opening this new chapter in the history of this unique brand.”
McGirr arrives having never worked with Lee McQueen, who died in 2010. Burton took over following more than a decade of close collaboration with the brand’s founder.
Though McGirr did a stint as head of womenswear at Dries Van Noten, the Dublin native’s resumé appears particularly menswear focused. After attending Central Saint Martins, he worked on Uniqlo’s men’s collections under Christophe Lemaire. He joined JW Anderson in 2020 as the head of men’s, before eventually overseeing all ready-to-wear collections, which have reached new levels of critical acclaim in the past few years.
Burton was a successful men’s designer, and won over fans like Timothée Chalamet with her expressive tailoring, but in recent years she had stopped holding menswear shows. Name recognition notwithstanding, McGirr will be expected to make a loud introduction when men’s fashion week rolls around in January.