Alexander McQueen returns to London with a sensuous showing

After fourteen years Sarah Burton brings a feminine McQueen collection to London Fashion Week with symbols, trinkets and embroidery

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 February, 2016, 9:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 February, 2016, 9:01pm

A very feminine and beautifully sensuous autumn collection marked the return of Alexander McQueen to the London Fashion Week catwalk for the first time since 2002. the show was in the Royal Horticultural Halls, where Sarah Burton worked on her first collection with the late designer 20 years ago.

“It is a great space and carries a lot of memories,” says Burton. “I knew I would show in London after the last collection in Paris,” although this is thought to be a temporary move.

Twenty years ago the McQueen collection provoked controversy when black model Debra Shaw walked the catwalk shackled to a square metal frame. Sarah Burton’s collection couldn’t be more of a contrast, ruffled dresses printed with what she describes as “eccentric symbols”including the moon, moths, owls, swans and antique perfume bottles. A golden winged Pegasus wraps the body of one gown.

The mood is after-dark and hyper-feminine with boudoir slip dresses that seem to be unravelling contrasting tuxedo tailoring and some looks that combined the two. Everything was beautifully embellished with embroidery and pinned with pretty talisman trinkets. The idea says Burton “was of symbolism, dreaming and that area of the subconscious.” It felt consciously a far happier place than that provoked by the imagery of the show two decades ago.