Tag Archives: Sarah Burton

The Witchy World Of Alexander McQueen

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On March 6 Sarah Burton debuted one of her most breathtakingly exquisite Autumn 2017 collections. One galvanized from an outing taken with her clan to Cornwall, England where she spied a Cloutie tree (on which people tie rags and ribbons as they make wishes), visited the ruins of castles and medieval churches, and where a subculture of paganism and healing witchcraft is said to still exist. From there she was off and running with her imagination and research (which she is wont to do) into the creative communities that inhabit these walls, its traditions, their ancient signs and symbols, and the power that laid within the landscape.

The Cloutie tree inspiration, a prominent theme throughout the collection, was witnessed from the very first look of floating ribbons on a whipstiched black leather coat. It then made its way onto bodycon-ribbed knits, and as wisps of threads streaming from embroidered patches of flora patterned dresses. It was present via the extra long cinched belts on a few of the softly tailored pieces made from cashmere felting. These black/grey pantsuits with their extra long jackets, paired with thick-soled sneakers seemed fit for a modern-day priestess.

Burton wove her Cloutie theme all the way through to its final evening looks. The last 2 exits with their glistening silver sequin embroidery, and their sleeves and hems trailing in black or cream feathers were pure beauty. When the day comes that I finally get married, I’ll happily walk down the aisle in either the cream with green, blue and beige flora and fauna embroidered dress, or the final silver sequin and feather frock. Maybe a visit to the Cloutie tree is in order for me.


Paris Fashion Week Street Style

Giovanna Engelbert in a Prada skirt and shoesIrene Kim

Fil Xiao BaiPFW Street Style

Street Style

Yasmin SewellSayo Yoshida

Mlle Yulia

Hailey BaldwinAlexandra Lapp in Hermes Bruno Manetti

Teddy QuinlivanStreet Style

Ece Sukan and Giorgia Tordini

Giovanna Engelbert in a Prada // Irene Kim // PFW Street Style // Sayo Yoshida // Mlle Yulia // Alexandra Lapp in Hermes & Bruno Manetti // Street Style // Street Style // Teddy Quinlivan // Hailey Baldwin // Yasmin Sewell // Fil Xiao Bai

Then There’s This

The Cinematic Traumas of Kenneth Lonergan The Cinematic Traumas of Kenneth Lonergan

Ten Photographers Drawing Attention to Climate Change Ten Photographers Drawing Attention to Climate Change

A Celebration of Dries Van Noten’s Models: Then and Now A Celebration of Dries Van Noten’s Models: Then and Now


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More Musings On Paris Fashion Week

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I doubt I could describe Alexander McQueen’s latest foray on Fall fashion any better than vogue.com’s Mark Holgate, so I won’t. I’ll leave it to his summation of the collection which captured my reaction distinctly, “Sometimes, like at the small but absolutely exquisite Alexander McQueen presentation shown at the giddy-making gilded splendor of the Opéra Comique, fashion is about that moment when, what you are seeing before you is so magically transportative that you catch your breath, then forget to breathe out; that it goes beyond any kind of cerebral comprehension and instead causes an intense and instant emotional connection. And to think that Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton did all this with just ten looks. Of course, those ten were worked and finished to levels of near indescribable perfection.”

I can only add that the collection was a  delightful mash-up of the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I meets Alice In Wonderland. Pregnancy must have kicked her already sublime imagination in to over drive!

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Another favorite outing in Paris was Raf Simmon’s 3rd collection for the Christian Dior house. A whimsical collaboration of classical design silhouettes (he introduced a softer feel, think more jazz age less rat pack) married to the lyrical paintings of Andy Warhol’s fashions and shoes, the precursors to his infamous Pop work.

The classic Bar suit was made this season in wool that mimicked denim, and Dior’s love of dramatic, asymmetric draperies was taken in a contemporary direction with hemlines sliced on the diagonal. Taking the old and making it new, embroidering your name on the fabric of the storied house with out demolishing the very structure it was built on.

Perhaps, Heidi Slimane, could take a lesson on how to leave his thumbprint without camouflaging the Yves St.Laurent line into a look and feel it will never, nor should, wear comfortably.

A sampling of my other favorite exits from Paris Fashion Week.

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Chanel Fall 2013Givenchy Fall 2013

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Clockwise from top left: Celine, Celine, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Balmain, Chanel.

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Alexander McQueen’s Pre Fall 2013 Collection

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Sarah Burton did it again! The woman is a superhero, in the last weeks before her twins are due to arrive she was putting the finishing touches on her sublime Pre-Fall 2013 collection. Inspired by ecclesiastical dress, she spoke backstage of researching “the low church, puritans, nuns, and popes”. It is never more evident than in her closing number of a white gown and spectacularly ornate lace-covered cape or the black jacquard cropped cape with red trim over a black evening dress with mini train. It’s a collection of stately shapes and whose elaborate detailing rivals the output of Paris’ couture houses.

It begins with cassock-like black velvet coats with nipped waists, flared laser-cut hems with poufs of cotton emerging from underneath, prints reminiscent of rorschach tests, and surplice-inspired cotton shirts and shirtdresses. Then came the most perfect high-waisted wool flared pants – the standout topped off with a wool cape nipped at the waist – while knitwear featured jacquard stained-glass window patterns.

The evening portion begins with fur which is sculpted from fox, astrakhan, and shaved mink creating texture in a luxe white fur cloak and coats. The grandiose and stunning dresses could easily be seen on any red carpet  – slim caped dresses, one black, one white, in which organza frills frame portholes through which lace bras can be seen – and the ivory “communion lace” dress caught up in panniers at the sides, while not quite the dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore, would make any bride feel like a princess none the less.

While Sarah is away having her babies McQueen’s fall March show in Paris will be scaled back to two small press presentations. But the woman with a fervent work ethic promises, “ it will be something quite different.” The woman knows no bounds!!


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Alexander McQueen Resort 2013

I know, I know! I said my latest post on Resort 2013 was to be the last one, but how could I not report on one of my favorite designers? There is always something new and exciting about Burton’s collections, especially this one. It is SUBLIME!

Sara Burton, creative director for Alexander McQueen, cited art deco and David Bowie – the most creative and visually extreme Bowie of the mid-seventies – as the inspirations for her latest resort collection. Sarah described the collection from inside her studio, “The proportions are extreme: high waists, an elongated leg, a peaked shoulder. There’s a harder, more precise, masculine edge that’s a reaction to the roundness and the sickly-sweet femininity of the last collection.” Indeed this collection is a 180 from fall 2012’s – a collection mostly made up of trouser suits – but not in terms of greatness or attention to detail. As usual the fabrics are mouth-watering –  gilded metallic jacquard, white polka-dot sateen, a bronze/ gold/ silver geometric pattern, black light weight crepe embroidered with silvery dots and a silver fabric embroidered with dragonfly’s (borrowed from the art deco era).The tailored black pieces seemed unusually barren till closer looks revealed that lapels and piping were actually trompe l’oeil encrustations of beading.

Burton acknowledged that this collection was “the most rigorous one to create” and therefore more difficult to “make it beautiful”. Well, I beg to differ, not from where I am standing. All hail McQueen!!

Photos are all from Alexander McQueen Resort 2013

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Paris Fall/Winter 2012 Collections

For this year’s Alexander McQueen spring collection Sarah Burton gave us colors of the sea – beautiful blues and corals. For Fall 2012 Burton takes us far into the sea and gives us various anemones disguised as fashion. Sarah’s visions for fall were encased with thoughts of ” a beautiful future, positivity and optimism”. Like an under water dream, designs made from organza, marabou feathers and layers upon layer of tulle floated down the runway.

The beginning consisted of “pods”, short shaped skirts, with decoration embedded in the fabric which turned into “doilies” of laser-cut ponyskin mounted on leather, and finally fur pompoms. Then the pods exploded, like puffballs, into extravagantly shaggy shapes in goat fur, ostrich feather, or Mongolian lamb. Referring to a show that didn’t delineate a rational working wardrobe for fall, Burton said, “I think it’s the icing on the cake of what we do, you want something magical”. Magical it was.

But Burton is not one to leave any stone unturned. She delivered, at the temporary Paris atelier, racks of the practical, wearable commercial collection which reflected the ideas that glided down the runway — everything from jeans to floral knitted sheath dresses, pastel tailoring, and curvaceous coats and jackets.

Besides McQueen, Haider Ackerman is a designer that has always delivered for me and his fall 2012 collection was no exception. More body conscious than spring — note the wide, molded leather belts that cinched in the waist — the collection was dominated by full-bodied Melton wools, Mikado shantung, satins and rough-textured leather which Ackerman molded into very sexy and modern ensembles. The master of draping and color didn’t disappoint, there was a paprika satin blouse and mustard peplum worn with a berry-brown wool jacket and skirt that was divine, and an eggplant shantung 7/8 coat with smoke-gray satin pants and a chestnut blouse flourished with a bois-de-rose scarf to die for. His folds and drapes were those that could only be made by a master technician, they seem so natural and easy as if that was how nature would have them fall.

Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri have come into their own at Valentino this fall.  The overall concept for their fall collection, according to the designers, was “folk, but in a modern, faceted way.” They have been modernizing their sweetly feminine silhouettes — black leather gave the duo’s by-now familiar dresses and jumpsuits a new edge — and are designing for a more natural less perscriptive kind of beauty. I look forward to their future envisions for the Valentino woman.

The following are a few of my other favorite looks from Paris.

First group of 4 photos – ALexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2012. Second group of 4 photos – Haider Ackermann Fall/Winter 2012. Third group of 4 photos – Valentino Fall/Winter 2012.

Second Group – clockwise from top left: Lanvin, Lanvin, Balmain, Givenchy, Dries Van Noten, Veronique Leroy, Chanel, Balmain — all from Fall/Winter 2012.

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London’s Fall Winter 2012 Fashion Week

The best part about London fashion week was getting to see McQ by Alexander McQueen — the houses’ 2nd line — on the catwalk for the first time ever since their launch 6 years ago. London was thrilled to have McQueen being represented in his home town again, even if it was going to be a teaser show to advertise the opening of McQ’s first store on Dover street this spring. But Sarah Burton doesn’t do anything half-way and treated London to a luxe runway show and theatrical performance like no other, not to mention a collection that could have easily walked the Alexander McQueen runway.

Burton kept the elements of the McQueen aesthetic —  the romance, the dark glamour, the mind-blowing tailoring — and the nipped in waists they are famous for and turned out a luxe and accessible collection. As she explained, the way to make McQ work was to start with the assumption that clothes should be beautiful, at any price. The show stopper was one of the last dresses down the runway (bottom right above), an evening dress with a 50’s silhouette  – nipped in waist, strapless with a full skirt underneath layers of tulle — with burnt-out velvet detail on the skirt and along the decollete and shoulders. Simply stunning.

London followed New Yorks lead in many trends – fur, shearling, peplums, but the pants were sleeker (not many cropped full pants) and color and prints were everywhere — there were times when I felt I had time warped to the Spring collections. Mary Katrantsou and Matthew Williamson are two flawless examples of the latter (color and prints) with Mary looking for new silhouettes to emphasize her embroidery and enhancements and of course, to frame those delicious prints that have propelled her into the class of London’s fashion elites.  Williamson brought his traditional embellishments of color and glamour (his calling cards) to a collection of urban chic sports wear that continued with his pre-fall theme of Russion interiors (brocades). I’ve been dreaming about owning the fabulous pastel rainbow fox coat that opened the show (middle left below). Jonathan Saunders was taken with brown, red and lilac this fall and presented a collection, influenced by equestrian chic, full of extraordinary off combinations that are a Saunders signature.

I’ll leave you with some of my other favorites from London’s 2012 Fall/Winter collections. Stay tuned to get the Italian slant on Fall 2012 as Fashion Week moves to Milan.

1st group – McQ by Alexander McQueen Fall Winter 2012.

2nd group – clockwise from top left: Mary Katrantsou, Mary Katrantsou, Matthew Williamson, Jonathan Saunders, Jonathan Saunders, Matthew Williamson. All Fall/Winter 2012.

3rd group – clockwise from top left: Christopher Kane, David Koma, Emilio de la Morena, ALC, Paul Smith, Temperly London. All Fall/Winter 2012.

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Paris Fashion Week – Sarah Reigns Supreme At Alexander McQueen & The Last of Spring Summer 2012

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating, We LOVE what Sarah Burton has done with Alexander McQueen. It is such a remarkable fusion of the late predecessor’s vision and Sarah’s own unique talent and individuality. It’s almost as if she has been channeling Alexander when standing in front of her mannequins, ready to design.  If anything, Sarah’s womanly touch has brought the line a little more accessibility.

Burton, along with Chanel and Givenchy, chose an aquatic theme but her creatures of the sea were much more like Goddesses than the others. “It’s all about Gaia, the wonder of nature, the sea.” said Sarah as dresses constructed of encrustations of beading and mother-of-pearl, rivulets of microscopic pleats, filigrees of leather, cascades of ruffles, and miles of lace were painstakingly peeled off models by a phalanx of dressers.

The collection’s quality has not slipped one iota from the days when Alexander was at its helm. In fact, this show, with all its allusions to coral, sea anemones, barnacles, frondy seaweed, silvery mother-of-pearl, and bone-white seashell, was practically at the level of a Parisian couturier.

This funny story says a lot of how adored Sarah Burton is in the fashion world – after the show, only her 3rd solo collection, Emmanuelle Alt, editor of French Vogue, first backstage—ahead of a 200-strong throng of congratulators—went down on her knees and pawed the ground in front of Sarah Burton, laughing, “Thank you!” Indeed, the props were well deserved.

Givenchy, another designer with an aquatic theme for his Spring/Summer collection, claimed surfers and mermaids as influences, but we’ve never  known any of either species to be as chic and sexy as Givenchy’s models were. There was no denying the sex appeal of Riccardo Tisci’s  jackets that were sharp and soft at the same time, with strong, confident shoulders, and, for contrast, suggestive, undulating lapels and come-hither peplums trimmed not in leather but eel skin, shark, or stingray. The high low of many of his skirts showed much of the models legs while maintaining the length. Leaving the viewer to decide whether the silhouette was naughty or nice.

The collection’s overall impression of strength was balanced with a femininity that came from the play of softly fluted volumes in peplumed jackets and intricately pieced dresses made of white lace and chiffon.

Marc Jacob’s Spring/Summer collection for Louis Vuitton was the first time we could seriously see him replacing John Galliano at Christian Dior (as the rumor mill has it). His technique and craftsmanship has never looked stronger,and it seems he has developed a devotion to them.

Broderie anglaise was used for exaggerated Vandyke collars, and as insets replacing the alternate diamonds on an Argyle knit. It perforated stiff little faille skirt suits and separates made from leather treated to look like scrunched-up sheets of cartridge paper. Matte crocodile coats were painstakingly hand-pieced together so that the scales match and an eggshell lacquer bag made with the assistance of the last man in Paris still in command of the 1920’s technique will be in high demand.

Jacobs captured the mood of ironically exaggerated femininity that has swept the runways perfectly. There was an abundant use of eyelet lace forming fields of daisies and to soften the effect even more, these pieces were veiled in sugar-almond-colored organza layers or misted with shaded ostrich-feather fronds.

The last of the models has walked the catwalk for Spring/Summer 2012 and we will leave you with these last parting shots as we prepare to shift our gears back to Fall/Winter 2011.

Top section: Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2012.

Middle section clock wise from top left: 1-3 Givenchy Spring Summer 2012, 4-6 Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2012

Bottom section: Row 1 – Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer 2012, Row 2 – Yves St. Laurent Spring/Summer 2012, Row 3 – Chanel Spring/Summer 2012.

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