Time has named its Top 100 Most Influential People for 2012. Last year Tom Ford made the cut. This year, Sarah Burton. To say that she is well deserving is an understatement of large proportions for many reasons. Just one: under her direction (and against all odds and much uncertainty), a luxury design house has thrived following the death of its genius, namesake designer.
Time writes: She is a young woman who shouldered an enormous burden and privilege with dignity, heart and strength. She was the right hand of Alexander McQueen, known as Lee, a beloved designer and man; she was a secret to many, a secret weapon to one. She is now, at 37, a designer the elder statesmen of fashion marvel at, who is spoken of as the real thing. But you have to restrain her to make her hear that. She is busy working and never intended to find herself spoken of in headlines or chatter. She never imagined photo shoots or interviews. She loves the work. And the studio. And her team, which Lee assembled so many years ago. She thinks about women and art and stories, weaves her tale into the future of fashion.
On the runway she is inspired. And she creates the most beautiful and complex layers and simple, perfect lines. And a waist. Keeping up the tradition. And she did the undoable. A royal wedding dress that could never live up to the impossible dream. But it did. The whole world gasped in astonishment and sighed in reverie as she made one young woman's fantasy a reality for everyone. Lee would be so proud. She is assuredly a secret no more but still remains, at heart, the girl next door.