The death of Alexander McQueen, in February, shook the fashion world to its core, yet i firmly believe that amidst the bitterness, something sweet lingers and has begun to grow from the wreckage. Of course, the untimely death was devestating as the designer had so much innovation and the potential to change, influence and push the fashion world even further. However, we have to admit that some positives are forming and becoming stronger. Ironically, through death, the creations of alexander mcqueen have been truly celebrated this year allowing everyone to take note the impact and legacy that we are left with; despite the unfortunate nature of this occurrence it should be seen as advantageous in some way.
Nevertheless, the most hopeful incident to arise from the saddening circumstances has to be Sarah Burton who is my final 2010 highlight.
She was the natural heir to the McQueen thrown, working closely with the “l’enfant terrible” before his untimely death. Burton was appointed by the Gucci Group as creative director of Alexander McQueen in May and completed the late designer’s last collection which was presented in June. It was a hauntingly beautiful and emotional moment in fashion history and won Burton much acclaim as a deserved successor.
However, fashion week for ss2011 was Burton’s moment to either shine or become lost in the darkness. I sat counting down the days, then hours and finally the minutes; pressing refresh continuously, hoping to see Sarah Burton’s first solo collection for Alexander McQueen. Finally it appeared on the screen in front of me and, anxious for the new creative director, i took a deep breath before examining, in detail, each piece. After stating that she wanted to breathe fresh air into the Alexander McQueen label, I feared that anything new would be far cry from his majesty’s genius’ it was frightening that someone was prepared to change the image of such an iconic brand that has inspired anyone with a passion for clothes and art. However, thankfully there was no need for me to worry. This collection was all Sarah Burton, but there was no mistaking that Alexander “Lee” McQueen came to back to life with every piece.
She kept to her word, and, by injecting her femininity, she successfully escaped the darkness that hung over the last few collections. There was softness in the use of white, feathers, chiffon and overload of butterflies. The feeling of this collection was much lighter than previous but there was something just as hauntingly beautiful about this.
She also laid off the theatrics, as promised, with a catwalk of just bare floorboards with weeds poking through. For me, it represented a fresh start, it was all about the clothes.Theatrics or not, the collection itself was just as dramatic. The structure, as always with McQueen, was something else. It was artistic but in a natural way. It was aristocratic; the colours and prints were so rich and luxurious and brilliantly crafted. Combining all of this, the experience of even looking at the clothes on my computer screen was otherworldly and needed a second glance.She rose to the challenge with success and humility; I joyously await future work from the very talented Sarah Burton.