‘The thing that Lee was about, and McQueen is about, is telling a story’, Sarah Burton explains after the showcasing of the Alexander McQueen runway collection at Paris in October. As her first Fashion Week since being appointed creative director she had huge boots to fill, under pressure to live up to the legend, both literally and metaphorically. In perfect sync with her predecessor, Burton showed that she was not only reading off the same page as Lee but ‘could do it in her own way’.
As grass emerges through the cracks of the white washed floorboards, the models footsteps fall confidently and dress hems flow freely. Burton gives the brand a new identity; McQueen has always been about strong women and Burton follows this train of thought in the Spring/Summer collection. However, this new woman seemed somewhat softer. The clothes had lost that archetypal rawness that McQueen was renowned for and replaces it with a natural purity. In the collection, we see a movement representative of the loss and regaining of different identities. The graceful white dresses allude to innocence; the structured tailoring is somewhat freer. As skirts billow and shoulders flutter, the colour palette shifts from the darkness that McQueen embraced to neutrals representative of a fresh start. It is clear that Burton successfully blends the McQueen sensibility with a slightly altered, less tainted identity, taking our imaginations to somewhere new yet reminiscent of old.In perfect sequence with the McQueen way, Burton creates a collection that is equally as fictive. With each garment, the audience in Paris saw a narrative that developed, rather than concluded the McQueen story.