It took a long time for Sarah Burton to come into her own over at Alexander McQueen. That’s not surprising, considering the details of her ascent, where she was basically trust into the spotlight after the iconic designer–whose name still adorns the brand–committed suicide nearly a decade ago. Even if McQueen had not single-handedly helped the industry pull out of its self referential naval gazery minimalist funk and into the world of drama, ready made for the Internet Age, the circumstances of his passing would have pressured anyone to design in his footsteps instead of their own.
But time heals all wounds, and if there’s one thing McQueen would have understood, it was the need for change. Burton’s has happened gradually, beginning when she returned from maternity leave a few years back. There’s been a softening of the over all vision, and a prettiness to it that is all her own.
Burton, and the McQueen line have never settled for the expected when it comes to these in-between collections of Resort and Pre-Fall. Even before the highest end of the Fashion World began to consider that resort might be a third chance for runway shows, this was a line that used it as the chance to experiment. There’s also almost always a through line to what one sees on the runway, in the off-season and then in the couture line that follows, as Burton has a tendency to work through a theme for months at a time.
So when thirty plus looks showed up, each one as intricate and interesting as a couture piece, it was not that off brand a choice. Taking leather that has been worked down to a butter softness so that it behaves like fabric, crafting flowers out of it and then hand painting them is exactly the sort of fine detail work that one usually sees in couture creations–and here Burton puts them out for Resort. This is their experimental spot, you see, which is why the collection not only contained those, but also knitwear so fine it might pass for lace, or at least very colorful evening wear.
The entire collection, and some well deserved close-ups, are below for your inspection.