After months of feverish speculation about Kate Middleton’s wedding gown (including PEOPLE’s own top 25 picks), the princess-to-be walked into Westminster Abbey wearing a sleek, elegant dress with a full skirt and lengthy train by Alexander McQueen Creative Director Sarah Burton.
Burton’s name had been linked to the wedding after a U.K. paper announced her as the designer on their front page in March, though Burton denied the claim via a rep. After being spotted at the Goring Hotel the night before the wedding, it seemed the cat was out of the bag. The high-fashion favorite recently sent several gothic bridal looks down the runway during Paris Fashion Week – though her design for Kate was far more conservative and chic. With Burton’s name on everybody’s lips, here are the top five things to know about the designer, 36:
She’s up for a challenge
After McQueen’s death in February 2010, it was difficult to imagine who could fill his shoes – the late designer was known for wildly whimsical, intricate designs and spectacular fashion shows. Though Burton admitted to being nervous, her first show in October 2010 earned raves from fashion critics.
She’s a loyalist
Burton has worked for Alexander McQueen since interning there in 1996. Upon returning to the label after graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2000, she worked as McQueen’s right-hand woman. She will be sure to be front and center at the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute Gala on May 2, celebrating the opening of the “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit.
She has a bright future
Burton’s name has been mentioned as a contender for head designer at Dior, replacing recently ousted creative director John Galliano. Should LMVH head Bernard Arnault be a royal-watcher, Middleton’s Burton design would certainly catapult the designer to the top of the list.
Fashion editors adore her
Following Burton’s Fall/Winter show in Paris in March, editors from Elle‘s Joe Zee and Anne Slowey to Marie Claire‘s Nina Garcia practically begged Middleton to wear McQueen – even taking to Twitter to plead their case. Who knew Tweets worked so well?
Risk-taking celebs are “Gaga” for McQueen
Long a favorite of stars including Sarah Jessica Parker and Lady Gaga (who says McQueen is posthumously working through her), Burton’s designs for the label continue to score with celebs. Mila Kunis’s memorable SAG gown was one of the designer’s creations.