“Intergalactic, planetary, planetary, intergalactic”. Those are the first words – or lyrics, for the musically inclined – that come to mind after seeing last night’s Alexander McQueen show. Everything from the bizarre electronic music and gold helmets to the bleached eyebrows of the models pointed in the direction of an otherworldly presence. In fact, if aliens had observed our planet and tried to recreate some of the fashions for themselves, something tells us this is exactly what the result would be. The gold harnesses, chokers, and bra tops where reminiscent of Amazonian garb, while the opening leather skirts, cut with such precision, had an odd kilt feel to them. Bangles and cuffs were worn from wrist to shoulder, and the rimmed collars on leather gilets and jackets resembled the neck rings worn by the women of the Kayan tribes in Burma. Towards the end of the presentation, dresses made of intersecting strips of fabrics recalled the dirndls of Bavaria.
Despite all the parallels one could draw to outer space or earthly cultures, Sarah Burton also references the works of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. His cubist patterns were replicated in colored sand on the runway and appeared as the print on numerous looks, while other graphics were inspired by Picasso’s earlier works. Besides the prints, the strength of this collection came from a perfect play on proportions. Sweet dresses were given a sharp edge with tiered layers cut into the backs of the garments, and a perforated look paired a round-shouldered top with a knee-length skirt and leggings.
Following the birth of her twins and a quieter fall/winter season for the designer, there was no doubt after last night’s show that she was back in full force. Through her choice of materials, Sarah Burton imbued her clothes with a palpable fierceness, and outfitted her modern woman with the armor and strength of the tribeswomen who inspired her.