- Career + Alumni
- Life at SCAD
- About SCAD
SCAD proudly recognizes Stephen Burrows as the 14th recipient of the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. Presented each year in conjunction with the SCAD Fashion Show, the award commemorates outstanding contributions and continued excellence in shaping the fashion industry.
Previous award winners include the following fashion luminaries:
In recognition of Burrows’ remarkable career, the SCAD Museum of Art will present “An American Master of Inventive Design,” a special exhibition of his innovative work, which will be on display from May to September.
For nearly half-a-century, Stephen Burrows has been a celebrated fashion innovator whose work helped define the look of a generation and has influenced the collections of designers ranging from Diane von Furstenberg to Marc Jacobs.
In the ’70s and ’80s, his colorful, exuberant clothing was revolutionary, attracting a high-profile clientele including Cher, Diana Ross, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Hall, Lauren Hutton and Barbara Streisand. Burrows pioneered the use of stretch fabrics such as wool blends and rayon jersey, using them to craft close fits and slim silhouettes in vibrant colors and metallic fabrics. Dubbed “an American original” by The New York Times, Burrows is credited with the creation of the fluttery lettuce edge hem, a technique often employed on his designs alongside exaggerated zigzag red stitching.
He began his design career making clothing for O, a New York City gallery-boutique, in 1966. His window displays were traffic-stoppers; the young designer was soon besieged with orders. To meet the growing demand for his designs, Burrows, along with Roz Rubenstein, launched a ready-to-wear collection for Bonwit Teller in 1969. Later that year, Burrows became the first American designer given a freestanding boutique inside Henri Bendel. Through his Bendel atelier space, called Stephen Burrows’ World, he was first introduced to industry luminaries including Carrie Donovan, Diana Vreeland and his longtime muse, Pat Cleveland.
In 1973, renowned fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized a benefit fashion show at Versailles, France, a competition between the U.S. and France. Participants included the most influential designers of the day – French designers Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro, competing alongside American designers Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein and Burrows. An international sensation, the runway spectacular marked the first time American designers were recognized as fashion industry leaders, as well as the first time African-American models were used on an international runway. Burrows received rave reviews for his extraordinary segment, which introduced color in ways never before seen on the runway.
The first African-American designer to attain international acclaim, Burrows’ storied career has earned him many accolades, including three Coty American Fashion Critics’ Awards. Forty years after his designs were first seen in New York City window displays, Burrows was honored with the 2006 Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Board of Directors Special Tribute Award.