In only her third collection at the helm of the Brit brand, Sarah Burton brought fragility and femininity to the catwalk in the spring 2012 Alexander McQueen show in Paris.
And to think what she's gone through in the last 18 months: her friend and mentor Alexander McQueen’s tragic death last spring, to the now iconic wedding gown crafted for Kate Middleton, to the internationally acclaimed McQueen exhibition at the Met in New York - the designer must be made of stern stuff.
Burton's inspiration came from the wonders of nature and the ocean bed; her models, wearing fine lace masks just covering eyes but moving to encase the whole head, became strangely beautiful mermaid-like creatures. Gowns became increasingly detailed, some encrusted with beads, oyster shells and seed-pearled 'barnacles', with waterfall ruffles and acres of embroidered lace.
Burton also honoured the strict tailoring and classic silhouette of the house in her first looks with cocktail suits in pearlescent pinks and golds with high collars or scooped necks revealing lace bras paired with skirts with flouncing hem ruffles. All in all, a regal enough selection to take any princess from public appointments during the day to the ambassador's ball at night.
As the show drew to it's close, the habitually cynical fashion crowd stood to applaud Sarah Burton’s other worldly fantasy and editors rushed backstage to congratulate the breathless designer with one allegedly getting on her knees before the designer in admiration!
- Charlie Miller in Paris