The Spring/Summer 2024 show saw the creative director with her heart on her sleeve, drawing inspiration from female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, and the blood red rose

After 26 years at Alexander McQueen—13 at its womenswear helm—Creative Director Sarah Burton took her final bow. Anatomy II was staged at Le Carreau du Temple, a former clothes market where the designer would sometimes set up shop over Paris Fashion Week. In true McQueen fashion, Spring/Summer 2024’s show was romantic and dramatic and emotional, signaling the end of an era and new beginnings in one breath.

“This collection is inspired by female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood red rose and Magdalena Abakanowicz,” read Burton’s to-the-point show notes, followed by a more personal note: “This 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’s success at the house can be traced back to her allegiance to the sense of wonder McQueen cultivated over his years. But as deftly as she was able to bear that legacy, she made her own indelible mark, leveraging an obsession with high craft and a feminine eye to usher the label into its next chapter.

On the runway, showgoers saw bold slashes—at the ribs, shoulders, down the center of the chest. The collection referred quite clearly to the body: A stand-out white knit dress looked like a skeleton, a ridged spine snaking up its length; blood-red roses stained white suiting, smudged at their edges; medical drawings trailed off into tassels, like arteries coming alive.

The show was dynamic, powerful, in-your-face; Burton left at a peak, wearing her heart on her sleeve.