Ahead of the Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2017 presentation, guests received invitations etched with the figure of a gamine girl with a slightly upturned nose, her lips parted, and her hair tangled with flowers. Her mischievous expression and surrounding flora suggested her role as a sort of fairy creature, and when guests arrived at L’Orangerie du Sénat in the Luxembourg Gardens and were arranged on bespoke rugs depicting scenery from the Shetland Islands, the reference came to light. Sarah Burton is as preoccupied with feminine mystique and mythos as her predecessor was preoccupied with death and creation, and for Spring/Summer 2017 she was particularly interested in the “wild and magical coastal landscapes of the Shetland Islands”, imagining her muse as a sort of warrior/maiden.
Clearly, Burton’s warrior/maiden was up for an adventure on the Scottish moors.
Soft, delicate details like filmy lace and embroidery were combined into looks that were paired with tough motorcycle jackets and studded combat boots. Clearly, Burton’s warrior/maiden was up for an adventure on the Scottish moors. In order to translate the Shetland Islands into her work, Burton relied on folkloric embroidery details and Scottish tartans – a nod to McQueen’s own Scottish heritage.
Atop her dreamy dresses, she constructed perforated leather bras and belts with charms dangling from them and also studied contrasts by pairing ethereal multicolored floral gowns with glossy biker jackets. Corset dresses with asymmetrical ruffles, puff-sleeve peasant gowns, and striped crocheted frocks were also in the mix, but it was her closing “noir” selection of lace, fringed, and embroidered gowns that really stole the show. These midnight pieces may have been gothic in inspiration, but they were so angelically wrought as to appear dainty, especially in the case of the two molten-silver final gowns.