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Sarah Burton on Alexander McQueen’s Death, Her Role as Designer

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British designer Sarah Burton took over as head designer of Alexander McQueen after McQueen tragically commit suicide in 2010. Speaking on her position and the process of adapting to the change after his passing, Sarah has commented on taking over the role and being under that same pressure that many believe contributed to McQueen's suicide. She commented that they always had a strong bond: “Sometimes he’d call me at 3 o’clock in the morning just to talk, and we had this relationship where . . . I would do anything for him. And then when he died I didn’t want the job, but then everybody was going to leave and I thought, ‘Well, what else are you going to do?’ Lee is Marilyn Monroe. He’s James Dean. And to be honest, it’s taken me a while to stop being afraid and see that the company needs me to be at my best.”

Burton added that she never understood the pressure he was under at the time and she sees that they are different designers with different approaches, and while they're both artists, there are certain things that have always set them apart that she now understands: “But the hardest thing is that I never really understood the pressure he was under. He could deal with all the difficult characters just by telling them to shut up. But I’m not like that. Only now am I beginning to accept the differences between us, and it’s fine. He was a painter who worked in massive brush strokes and I’m a person with tiny brush strokes.”

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