This fall, Sarah Burton took us deep into the woods for a night of gothic romance, spooky ambience, and dark glamour. The carpet of faded autumn leaves crunched underfoot as guests took their seats in what felt like a Grimm fairy-tale setting. As the lights went down, what took place was a gasp-worthy show, but one where the theatrics were still only the backdrop to incredibly beautiful and covetable clothes.
Burton’s biggest achievement was that she kept the main line’s magic, offering a mix of menswear and womenswear that captured the key elements of the McQueen aesthetic – from the trademark tartan, impeccable tailoring, and pleated kilts, while also injecting a dose of her very own, and increasingly more distinctive, aesthetic. The military inspired menswear was both sharp and fantasy, with the oversized trousers, army crewnecks, and long trench coats with Persian lamb collars, as if taken from a Guillermo del Toro movie. For womenswear, the story went from minimal (heavy wool A-line coats in hunter green and tan) to whimsical and dramatic (blown up skirts layered with tulle with intricate black lace overlays, nipped dresses with floral appliques), all complete with thigh high boots to die for.
The tale was concluded with spectacular finale as Kristen McMenamy, ghostly pale in a delicate New Look-style dress, slowly pulled a rope that lead her to an illuminated custom-made forest hidden at the end of the catwalk, before disappearing into its white woodland cabin under a rain of leaves. True to the late designer’s taste for performance (or maybe even evoking a complex metaphor of death, as some critics have noted?), the finale truly felt like a new chapter in the brand’s direction, one all about bringing the fantasy that is McQueen to life, no matter the budget.