Hundreds of years ago, well before the industrial age began, traditional styles of courtship were more akin to what we see in nature, i.e., the suitor had to prove himself worthy with a fanciful display. Unlike an ornate peacock with its magnificent plumage and flamboyant, shimmering feather dance, men in 17th century Wales set about to woo their lovers with displays of craftsmanship. They not only created lavish lovespoons as a manual labor of love and adoration, but also a signal to their intended’s family that they had the woodworking skills necessary to make a livelihood for themselves.
In those early Welsh communities, craft was everything. If you weren’t a weaver or a woodworker, the town gossip might cast aspersions and spread the rumor that you didn’t have much going for you. The fair ladies of the village might not take you as a husband if you couldn’t prove that you were skilled with your hands. Lovespoons, born of both a practical and romantic tradition, have become a cornerstone symbol of romance, extended to cultures across Europe.
In her tenure at Alexander McQueen, Creative Director Sarah Burton has mined the British legacy for inspiration, seeking the wisdom of its traditional craftsmanship and intricate techniques to bring storytelling to life at the house of McQueen. For Fall/Winter 2020, one of her most beautiful efforts came to fruition, courtesy of the lovespoon.
A love letter to the past, present, and future, the lovespoon motif is one of Burton’s most beautiful designs in memory.
After a research trip to Wales, Burton and her team came across lovespoons, ornately carved from single pieces of wood, and a marriage of craft and beauty was born. Its incredible heritage and the skill it takes to design the embellished wooden spoons was reimagined throughout the Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2020 collection in red guipure lace, ivory guipure encrusted with black leather, and with entwining fil coupé jacquard hearts on silk taffeta and organza designs.
In keeping with the tradition of love, Burton dedicated her collection as a “a love letter to women and to families, to colleagues and friends” where “the hearts [in the collection acted as a] symbol of togetherness, of being there for others”. This emotional tribute takes shape before our eyes in the gallery of images above, where we see exclusive making-of scenes as the collection takes shape. A love letter to the past, present, and future, the lovespoon motif is one of Burton’s most beautiful designs in memory.