Alexander McQueen Autumn Winter 2014 Show Report: Sweet Dreams

05 March 2014 by

With their hair plaited into tight corn rows and feathered eyelashes, the feral creatures that walked across Sarah Burton's tangled moss runway were as darkly romantic as they were spell-bindingly beautiful.

The designer was inspired, she said, by the children's fairytale Beauty And The Beast and by forest flora and nocturnal fauna: roses, ivy, oak trees, moths and owls.

In fact this marked something of a departure. Putting the strict hourglass silhouette this house is best known for to one side, the focus instead was on youthful and innocent trapeze and empire lines. Pleated, frilled and tiered dresses in everything from cotton poplin to fur were as light in appearance as the mist that swirled on the ground.

In a colour palette restricted to vanilla, black, chocolate brown, deep purple and dark green, out came hand-cut feather capes - their edges were shaped to mimic wings - soft ankle-length gowns suspended from eased velvet harnessing and tailoring that was as fresh as it was cutely assertive.

A clear play on proportions added to  a sense of other worldliness. Silk ribbon was threaded through oversized eyelets and tied into big bows at the throat; broderie anglaise was overblown and hoods were large enough for an extended family of baby birds to nest in.

It could very easily have tipped over into sugar-sweet territory but a toughness to leather jackets, cropped patent trousers, wide belts tied with more ribbon and flat laced boots ensured that was never the case.

Very much part of this designer's handwriting is an almost obsessive fascination with surface texture and fine workmanship. Rose and ivy silk velvet jacquards, ivy embossed leather, frayed silk pom-poms and flowers made their way across fabrics to ever more ethereal effect. Even the aforementioned footwear - flat throughout - was given this level of attention. Every pair was edged with ruffled cottons and silks. Models' hands were decorated with silver acorns and oak leaves.

If there was ever any doubt that we were in dream territory, meanwhile, it came in the form of crystal moon and star embroideries across tiny bell-shaped designs. Magical.


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