“There is no one more kind,” enthuses Elle Fanning of Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen. The pair have worked together for several years, but only met in person for the first time at the brand’s autumn/winter 2023 show in March.
As the actor watched from the front row, a particular dress from the collection caught her eye. Look 53, an exquisite bugle bead and crystal-encrusted creation with a sculptural, petal-adorned bodice, captivated the star—and from that moment, she knew that she had to wear it on the red carpet.
“She had fallen in love with it and we immediately thought of Cannes,” says her stylist Samantha McMillen, who travelled to London with Fanning to work on a custom version, that she wore to the opening ceremony of the annual film festival.
Together with Burton and the McQueen atelier, the pair added a voluminous pale-pink tulle skirt to the dress—instead of the metallic tendrils that featured in the original design—decorated with dégradé crystals embroidered by hand. “My jaw is still on the floor over each stone beaded by hand and the fact she did this for me!” says the actor.
“The time we shared and the artistry I witnessed from [Sarah Burton] in the McQueen London studio are a memory I will cherish forever,” remarks Fanning, who describes the final outcome as the “dress of dreams” and “a work of art.”
Burton echoes her sentiment. ‘It was amazing to be able to work with Elle on this dress for Cannes,” she tells British Vogue. “She has such beauty and strength and together we felt that juxtapositioning the powerful orchid with the delicate tulle skirt represented this.”
This story originally appeared in British Vogue.