Connecting political history within majestic intricacies, Sarah Burton replaces the drama with a different voice at Alexander McQueen.
No more drama
Unbridled serenity was centre stage at Burton’s Paris show this SS16. Gone is the face-decor of collections past, as are the spectacularly high-impact sets. In its place comes garments with a different kind of voice: silk ruffles reminiscent of (and very much inspired by) antique court dresses. In angelic hues – white, flesh, cream, pink – every piece of lace, crochet or tasseling was delicate, detailed and breath-takingly majestic all at once. From hand-painted shoes, laser-cut lace-up leather, and even lacerated denim, it would be naive to call this collection feminine (what does that even mean?), but McQueen worshippers will be less drama and more dreamlike come Spring.
Continuing its traditionally British feel, towards close appeared shock-red soldier tail coats atop demure lace dresses. Thick set chains formed body harnesses over black suiting, while a collection of more delicate links created a network of metal around and about the aforementioned sensitive ruffling. A denim knee length military jacket was extreme in its appliquéd embroidery, and gold threading was pushed through sheer fabrics, concocting beautiful jacquard-esque fringed flowers. Imagine the most decorative of armour. Garments looked like they had been picked from the most regal English garden, or failing that – like they would fit perfectly against its backdrop.
Not the same thing…
Fabric wise, Burton drew inspiration from the 17th Century silk weavers of East London – skilled workers who were French religious refugees, settling in London. They became fabric makers to the monarchy – weaving flowers into silks for interiors or garments. Known for its political commentary, the house of McQueen celebrates the skills of migrant cultures gifted to Britain at this time. Some have conjectured that maybe this is drawing a parallel to today’s Syrian refugee crisis. It is not. The show was astounding on all accounts. But there is absolutely nothing more dissimilar – the Paris Fashion Week Alexander McQueen show, and today’s refugee crisis – whatever the inspiration happens to be.
Words: Tom Rasmussen