Sarah Burton has always had a knack for scouting artisanal expertise with a story and incorporating it seamlessly into her collections.
In a previous collection, Burton cited Spitalfields silk weavers for inspiration. For the spring-summer 2017 series, the designer enlisted artisanal crafts from Scotland’s Shetland Island.
The new show venue- an orangerie at Jardin du Luxembourg – housed an uneven catwalk to echo the terrain of the Scottish island. A patchwork of woven rugs covered the runway, paying tribute to the craftsmanship of the island’s artisans.
Weaving the traditional crafts of Shetland lace, Celtic worsted wool plaid and Fair Isle-inspired knits into the spring-summer collection, Alexander McQueen featured some of the most breathtaking ensembles in Paris which truly earned Burton a standing ovation as she took a bow.
The finale dress, for example, was an elaborate tulle dress with cascading strings of beading, its white ruffled train mimicking a shipwreck scene of crashing waves in silver sequins.
The fantasy gown followed a series of scrumptiously embellished tulle dresses adorned with sea creature motifs. Delicate Shetland lace was made into floor-grazing gowns or spider-web-look-alike tops. The intimate, light and elaborate pieces were matched with leather harnesses gathered in the upper torso for a balance of toughness and fragility.
This season’s jewellery was also an extension of the balancing act – Celtic-inspired chokers, stacked jewelled cuffs and statement earrings featuring metal ball decorations with folkloric floral engravings –weighing in on the scale of toughness.
Apart from the lavishly decorated evening gowns, the Savile Row-precision tailoring that’s true to the house’s roots also gets a Celtic upgrade. Celtic checkered jackets were embroidered with black jet leaves and thistle threads.
Jackets with statement shoulders are matched with kilts worn over kickback trousers panelled with lace.
The embroidered denim was reinterpreted this season with Shetland’s indigenous floral and fauna, paired with matching leather coats that are appealing to celebrities and street-style mavens alike.