It has been five years since the tragic death of Alexander McQueen, and his influence is still felt in the fashion world, particularly because his successor, Sarah Burton, has hewed so faithfully to McQueen’s fabulated vision. His clothes weren’t just clothes, but works of art, rendered according to his dreams, his personal mythology, and the legends he wove around his life and environment. Fall/Winter 2008, presented two years before his death, was the embodiment of McQueen’s imagination. In it, he illustrated his collection according to a story he made up about a young woman living in the 600-year-old elm behind his house. He called his fable ‘The Girl Who Lived in the Tree’, and showed his imagined subject in voluminous crinolines and one well-remembered dress that had folds of crimson rosebud petals grasping the shoulder (which happens to be featured in the ‘Savage Beauty’ show set to open in London this week). The parallels between his Fall/Winter 2008 collection and Sarah Burton’s presentation today for Fall/Winter 2015 are abundantly clear. Burton paid homage to McQueen’s prior work with a romantic show that traded in crinoline for feathers and leathers, but the rosebud was the centerpiece, unfolding across a fairytale lineup of preternaturally beautiful clothes.
In what was Burton’s most romantic and wearable collection for the McQueen house to date, a series of sharply tailored looks opened the show.
In what was Burton’s most romantic and wearable collection for the McQueen house to date, a series of sharply tailored looks opened the show. They came in jet-black trenches embroidered with metallic thread, half-cup bustier dresses in suggestive combinations of red and nude, and glossy embossed leather separates trimmed with fur collars. Burton explored soft textures next, with a series of ruched and ruffled chiffon dresses in champagne hues. Leather looks became more abundant halfway through the show, as black and maroon dresses were shown with cage-like, cutout bodices or dipping necklines with oversized rose appliqué hems. Romance reached full bloom on a series of sleeveless frocks with lace phalanges that ran up the sternum and encircled the neck, the skirts of which were made from voluminous layers of swirling roses. The iconic McQueen rose was presented again on searing prints along the exterior of sheer gowns, which gave way to supremely beautiful closing looks called “skeleton” dresses.
When McQueen made up his girl in the tree, he imagined that she had been waiting for hundreds of years to meet a prince and become a queen. In the present day, she has found her prince, but before becoming a queen, she’s enjoying her courtship to him. Every day he fills her room with roses, and their fragrance lingers long after, much like the memory of our beloved McQueen.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree