Sarah Burton, the creative director of the fashion brand Alexander McQueen, is artist and storyteller. And that is not something new. She is famous and well known for her ability to speak to the cultural moment while introducing commercial proposals. All of that is done in a way that does not affect her creative narrative. She has always had an affinity for nature and history. Her view on Alexander McQueen is based on the precipice between the reality and reverie. As she stepped up to replace him, her interests in celebrating the mysterious powers of nature were all in her work. Her signature approach is that all her collections start with the typical factual germ, mostly and often geographic.
That continues to evolve into a web presenting the British legend and her own imagination. For the upcoming season, Burton found her inspiration in Cornwall – a southern county in the UK. A trip to Cornwall was the eye opening she needed – the ancient legends, artisanal crafts, paganism, and ancient traditions were chosen to be incorporated into what proved to be stunning fall line. She discovered the Cloutie tree – the tree where people would tie ribbons, string on a branch and make a wish.
Overall, it reflects the creative communities and the way they used to unite people to get things done. This was a referral to her studio also being a creative community. All this resulted and came together in a savvy and lyrical collection. Some time ago, this kind of collection could have been seen as a pure romance. Today, this collection expresses Burton’s attitude as a female warrior, with so many features in her work. The idea of the collection began with a research -a research into the world of artisanal crafts, remembering the “Cloutie” tree. All of these open her to a variety of ways for decorations.
She decided to include the artisanal embroidered samplers and the cross-stitching into her leather dresses. What is also present is the patchwork motif. Through the whole line, you can see the silhouette as linear and sensual. Something like “soft armor” mode was the bodycon ribbed knits attached to the gold mesh presenting a graphic intensity. The previously mentioned embroideries were a picture of flora and fauna, having symbolic representation, found in the ancient pagan rituals. The tailoring itself is languid, keeping the famous McQueen shoulder and then falling into asymmetry.
The entire show and the line have a medieval tribal accent. They were created to reflect that specific intensity, transferred into beautiful wearable clothes, most of them ready to wear right from the runway. This line is in fact the first time Burton articulated her own vision, but still fully honoring McQueen’s. The message she sent was: British part, female power and energy of youth.