It is safe to say that Sarah Burton has continued the tradition of dramatic, spectral beauty the McQueen house is known for. What has changed is the subtlety with which Burton crafts the garments, making one take a second look to see the quietly creeping morbidity.
Inspired by sea life, Burton incorporates the physical forms sea sponges, mollusks, coral, and anemones into this spring collection. Ruffled hems of classically tailored skirts and blazers mimic the texture of yellow sea sponges, uplifted by braided twist details shaped like giant sea clams. Frothy babydoll dresses laden with ruffles follow suit, bringing a welcome feel of innocent naivete from a house notorious for its edginess. Unapologetic peplums boldly skirt out like feeding invertebrate fingers. Coral pieces transform gowns into shells of undersea armor.
Pearlescent hues dominate the collection, ranging from the fleshy pink tone one would find in the mouth of a seashell, to bone white. Blacks and corals add a punch of power to the muted colors.
Delicate tentacles of lace creep like seaweed tendrils, consuming the models with parasitic zeal. Lace skullies progressively crawl down models’ heads from look to look, until, like and old bit of suken flotsam, their faces are completely overtaken by fibrous webbed sheaths or barnacle-like growths. Straps on platform wedges snake up models’ legs, occasionally punctuated by tufts of fabric or coral-shaped baubles.
Needless to say, this collection is absolutely breathtaking! What I most love is how all the pieces look as if they are alive and growing on the models. Sarah Burton’s definitely keeping that kind of unsettling beauty we expect from the McQueen house. Brava! For this, I will forgive her (this time) for using exactly zero black models.