Now in her fourth season at the helm of the late Lee McQueen’s eponymous house, Sarah Burton has moved beyond asserting her right to the enfant terrible’s throne, having settled in comfortably and to great (not to mention royal) acclaim, she is now able to relax the reins and let even more of her own beautiful vision shine through the apparatus of Lee’s brand. Though perhaps, their eyes obscured by curving futuristic visors, the models could not see it.
Tonight’s show began beneath a tangle of twinkling fairy lights and the first look, emerged, ethereal and tamed by a feminine sleight of hand that Lee so famously (not to mention deliberately) lacked. Tiered and widely pleated mini dresses in Burton’s favourite snow white hue, opened the show, worn beneath triangular froth cropped capes of softly undulating snowy ostrich feathered froth, a nod to her predecessor’s long-standing love of all things avian. The silhouette of the cape, pinched straight from an Edwardian sketchbook, at once ticked a Lee mainstay of the house’s historical aesthetic and the current status of the garment as the one du jour on the catwalks of Paris. It informed the lines of skirts, dress coats, and frock-come-cape ensembles.
From there, a powder pink infiltrated the pure white palette, bubbled silk weighed down with silver metal accents, semi-spherical belts and floral coils at the waists supplanting Sarah’s bondage belts of the previous two seasons. From the puffs of pink we then moved into intricately worked lace dresses, a quiet reminder (as Sarah is never brash) of the par excellence of the needlework that adorned the gown and train of last year’s most famous royal wedding dress. McQueen through and through in the silhouettes, pinched at the waist, puffed at the sleeve, Mongolian sheep gloves covered models’ hands and hung round their ankles. The only thing missing was a note of strict McQueenian tailoring, but not for lack of capability, as Burton has demonstrated in season’s past that she is more than up to Lee’s sartorial standards.
Finally came the full on explosion of feather, flowing ostrich in precious mauve and peach tones, delicate ethereal nesting baby birds, manifesting a kind of avian softness that Lee, for all his love of birds, never experimented with in his lifetime. When the final evening looks appeared, painstakingly embellished tulle and silk lampshades-come-sea-urchins complete with organza ruffs about the neck, Sarah Burton proved once again that Lee’s once intern, then second-in-command, and finally successor, is a creature of exquisiteness all unto herself. One who, for all the sorrow that’s surrounded the house since Lee’s loss, has truly taken wing ensuring that the House of McQueen, under her tutelage, will continue to soar through the sartorial heavens under the approving eye of its late founder.
Puffs of pink dropped elegantly off the shoulder
Visors added a unique styling touch to the collection
Frock-come-cape ensembles created a beautiful look
McQueen through and through in the silhouettes
Sarah Burton let her own beautiful vision shine through the apparatus of Lee’s brand