Hard And Soft, Sculptural And Delicate, The Alexander Mcqueen Resort 2020 Collection Was Filled With Contrasts And Vintage Flora

Britain’s most numerous metaphorical bloom is the shrinking violet: A well-reported story here this week asserted that 47% of Britons identify as shy and 10% as very shy. Just in time, then, for Sarah Burton and her talented team at Alexander McQueen to arrange a highly potent wearable botanical remedy. The heritage of a name, a legend a founder can be wonderful, or a poisoned chalice. Sarah Burton worked for many years alongside the late Alexander McQueen, but she is not him, but her heart and brain instills each collection with an aesthetic that carries echoes and threads back to him. Military in sharp red and black, the wild landscapes of the British Isles, the beauty of decay, a touch of punk, and above all a respect for tradition but a desire to subvert it, or twist it, into new forms.

Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

The iconic prints of this season showcasing the very concept of resistance are the toile de Jouy and the zebra pattern. The Toile de Jouy is a long-time prohibited knowledge that survives through smuggling networks that are considered a form of resistance. The zebra pattern is formed by an accumulation of graffiti which is contentious street art, often repressed and counter-attacked.

This season all those aspects of the house were clearly in evidence. The chalk striped jacket where the component pieces of the perfectly tailored Savile Row jacket were taken apart and reassembled in immaculate off-kilter proportions, the glorious rose effect sleeve which frayed and disintegrated as we looked at it. The work with mills in England has produced some sensational fabrics, touching them is a privilege and knowing the McQueen house’s contribution to the heritage and tradition is inspiring.

Pleated spiraling taffeta ruffles in couture perfection scissored raw at the edges and interspersed with loops of tiny corset hooks on silken cords. A black tailored jacket covered with thirty different types of buttons,  dozens of them held and pierced by myriad sized and metallic colored safety pins. The flounced and ruffled ivory white lace skirt which on close examination turned out to be filigree knitting, or the broad red taffeta stripe slicing down the side of a pair of black trousers.

The evening dress which was inspired by the northern love of ballroom dancing featured embroidery of dozens of pairs of glittering earrings, much favored by those dancers, however, closer examination showed the base for the embroidery to be a couture version of a string vest as a simple sleeveless side split tunic, and marching down the center, between all the pairs was one row of single earrings to muddle the final symmetry. Sarah Burton understands exactly what she is doing each season as she herself subverts the heritage of the house, whilst never leaving it far behind, a most sensational example of successfully walking the fashion high wire.

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