Kate Middleton turns again to Sarah Burton for 40th birthday shoot

Kate Middleton turns to her wedding dress designer Sarah Burton once more as she dons Alexander McQueen gowns for milestone 40th birthday photo shoot

  • Sarah Burton, Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, is behind Kate’smilestone birthday royal photoshoot
  • Macclesfield-born designer, 48, who dressed Kate for her 2011 wedding, remains one of the UK’s leading lights in fashion – having a huge impact on both everyday style and formal wear
  • Latest collaboration between the royal and Burton sees the Duchess going for high glamour in three ethereal gowns including a striking red dress, which is thought to be inspired by a £3,450 2021 McQueen dress

Kate Middleton has once again turned to her favourite designer for the photoshoot – more than worthy of a Vogue spread – to mark her 40th birthday. 

Sarah Burton, who designed the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress for her marriage to Prince William in 2011, is the fashion tour de force behind all three of the Alexander McQueen dresses that Kate is seen wearing in the striking set of photos taken by iconic Italian photographer Paolo Roversi. 

It’s no surprise that Burton was chosen to dress Kate for her milestone birthday, the British designer, current Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, has been the Duchess’ go-to for couture throughout her royal life. 

The latest collaboration between the royal and Macclesfield-born mother-of-three Burton sees the Duchess going for high glamour in three ethereal gowns. 

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A fashion friendship continues: Sarah Burton, who designed the Duchess of Cambridge ‘s wedding dress for her marriage to Prince William in 2011, is the fashion tour de force behind all three of the Alexander McQueen dresses that Kate is seen wearing in the striking set of photos taken by iconic Italian photographer Paolo Roversi

The Macclesfield-born designer, 48, who was awarded an OBE in 2012 remains one of the UK’s leading lights in fashion – having a huge impact on both everyday style and formal wear

Released to mark Kate’s 40th birthday today, the trio of images see the Duchess in confident pose – with the red gown similar to one in Alexander McQueen’s Autumn Winter collection which retails at £3,450

Burton, who was awarded an OBE for services to the British fashion industry in 2012, remains one of the brightest lights in British fashion, having a huge impact on everyday style and formal wear, and designing for some of the world’s most famous names.  

The 48-year-old supervises all collections in the Alexander McQueen portfolio and counts designing Pippa Middleton’s bridesmaid dress among one of her other most memorable moments in fashion. 

The only colour shot in the new trio of birthday photographs, shot at Kew Gardens in West London, sees Kate wearing a bold, red dress with pouf sleeves and a nipped-in waist; a similar dress from Alexander McQueen’s Autumn Winter collection retails at £3,450.  

Echoing both her wedding dress and gowns worn by both William’s mother, Diana, and the Queen in the early decades of her reign, the other two shots released to mark Kate’s birthday show Kate in a more intimate style – a world away from the sharp trouser suits and formalwear worn for public engagements. 

The stylish photographs mark a dramatic departure from images we are more used to seeing of the Duchess in formal poses or surrounded by her family – with echoes of the styles of both William’s mother, Diana, and the Queen in the early decades of her reign

Sarah who is the current Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, made headlines in 2011 after she designed the Duchess of Cambridge’s (pictured) wedding dress

All see Kate in confident pose; in two of the photographs, she looks directly into the camera, her hand elegantly resting in the pocket of a one-shoulder red dress while her hair billows out over her shoulder.

A Palace source said that the photo that sees Kate posing side on was inspired by the work of Cecil Beaton, the revered photographer who captured historic images of the Queen and Princess Margaret 

Her jewellery, as in all three images, is limited to just one pair of earrings – in this case diamonds borrowed from the Queen’s private collection – so her expression is the focus.

The long-standing friendship between royal and designer saw Kate call upon Burton to design her wedding dress, with Burton sworn to secrecy.    

So keen was Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton to disguise her involvement with the creation of the dress that she informed no one but a small group of colleagues who would work with her on the design. 

Kate’s big day: Burton’s designs were shrouded in secrecy ahead of the 2011 nuptials – with the designer saying she had ‘great fun’ trying to hide from the press

Sarah Burton pictured with model Naomi Campbell at the The Fashion Awards in London in 2019

She told the New York Post after the wedding: ‘The most fun I had was trying to hide… we laughed a lot about that.’ 

She admitted that she ‘kind of blew it’ when she was captured on camera running into Catherine’s hotel, The Goring in central London, the night before the May 2011 wedding but described the royals as ‘down to earth’.

Manchester-born Sarah, worked alongside Alexander McQueen for 14 years before the founder’s tragic death in 2010. She was given the role as head of womenswear design at the brand in 2000, just two years after completing her studies at Central St Martins in London.  

Sarah Burton has received acknowledgement for her creativity within the fashion industry in the past, being awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2012 and the award for the Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2011. 

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