Sarah Burton, the Creative Director of Alexander McQueen returned home to London with McQueen’s fall-winter 2016 collection for women. The reason for homecoming was not borne out of any nostalgic factor. In fact the show was held in London because Sarah Burton is heavily pregnant and due to give birth any day. However nostalgia loomed large as the show was held at the Lawrence Hall – the hall that had played host to the first McQueen show she ever worked on – La Poupée, held 20 years earlier in September 1996 and best known for its slashed tailoring and the fetishistic cage outfit.
The collection was rife with what the designer called “symbols of femininity” – think florals, butterflies, fantasy creatures and charms, as well as classic McQueen-isms like feathers. The eiderdown outerwear (Referenced the line between wakefulness and dreams; the inspiration for the collection.) could be a hit or miss depending on whether a puffy blanket coat is for you. Burton was also a bit over-the-top with the butterflies, of which fashion has seen far too many. A sharp, perfectly constructed black-and-white suit was instructional and inspirational, and had ‘power dressing’ written all over it.
Sarah Burton’s down coats and butterfly motifs were not for everyone, but her strengths in craftsmanship overcame the weaknesses. While the collection had romance, that’s not to say it was without an eroticism. Things felt distinctly “after dark” thanks to stiff corsets paired with frilled fraulein dresses, rubbery sex shop leather and lingerie dresses of translucent lace. As Burton put it of her muse of the season: “She comes alive at night.” That she certainly did.