Sarah Bur­ton shows her stuff

Sarah bur­ton brings an airy but con­fi­dent fem­i­nin­ity with a fan­tasy edge to Mc­queen’s col­lec­tion.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By ALEXAN­DRIA SAGE

WITH faux feath­ers and cas­cades of ruf­fles, Alexan­der Mc­Queen brought fan­tasy and fem­i­nin­ity to the run­way dur­ing the re­cent Paris Fash­ion Week, while still hew­ing to the fash­ion la­bel’s edgy, dark side for spring.

Creative di­rec­tor Sarah Bur­ton pre­sented a show-stop­per in the best tra­di­tion of the the­atri­cal brand, mix­ing up flirty skirts that flounced at the knee with harder edge mil­i­tary de­tails like epaulets, high col­lars and ar­mour­like bodices.

Bur­ton, once the la­bel’s head of wom­ens’ de­sign be­fore the 40-yearold Mc­Queen com­mit­ted sui­cide last year at his Lon­don home, has been rid­ing a wave of no­to­ri­ety since her de­sign of Kate Mid­dle­ton’s wed­ding dress this spring.

The Gothic-in­spired ivory satin and lace af­fair with a 2.7m long train gar­nered raves and fo­cused an in­ter­na­tional spot­light on Bur­ton and the Alexan­der Mc­Queen line.

“What you saw tonight, the bril­liance be­hind the fan­tasy and the beauty of the show, has noth­ing to do with that,” said ac­tress Salma Hayek af­ter the show, re­fer­ring to the now in­fa­mous wed­ding dress.

“I think she’s al­ready moved on from that. It’s gone some­where else. It was very un­ex­pected. It was amaz­ing.”

Hayek is the wife of the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the PPR Group, Fran­cois Henri Pin­ault, whose sta­ble of brands in­clude Yves Saint Lau­rent, Gucci, Ba­len­ci­aga and Stella Mc­Cart­ney.

Us­ing colours of but­tery ivory, gold, salmon and vi­o­let, Bur­ton some­how man­aged to rec­on­cile weight­less­ness with struc­ture in her gowns.

Tiny bits of chif­fon were sewn to­gether to cre­ate what looked like baby­doll dresses made from feath­ers. Yet as the sinewy mod­els passed by, one caught a glimpse of a har­ness at the back, a mo­tif she used in her Fall 2011 col­lec­tion, pro­vid­ing a darker, more ag­gres­sive note.

Strength and fem­i­nin­ity went hand in hand in form-fit­ting jack­ets in sil­very pink and gold, adorned with fringed epaulets or high Eliz­a­bethan col­lars, paired with nar­row skirts be­low the knee.

Ruf­fles in a muted print of vi­o­let and grey burst from the seams of jack­ets and dresses, their flu­id­ity con­strained by the sharp tai­lor­ing of the gar­ments.

Bur­ton’s un­der­wa­ter fan­tasy was the show’s high­light, with mod­els trans­formed into mer­maid war­riors. Us­ing abalone shells in one gown, and coral in an­other, she cre­ated in­tri­cate, ar­mour-like corseted tor­sos, with soft chif­fon bil­low­ing be­neath to the floor.

“I do be­lieve there’s a lit­tle less of an angst when I see this col­lec­tion,” said Ken Down­ing, fash­ion di­rec­tor for US depart­ment store Neiman Mar­cus.

“I think be­cause it’s in the hands of a wo­man, we see a lit­tle more of a fem­i­nine spirit.”

Still, it would not be an Alexan­der Mc­Queen show with­out a darker and more men­ac­ing un­der­tone, and Bur­ton mixed up strips of black vinyl with cream lace in a gown that looked like it was glued onto the model’s body, al­most trap­ping her in­side.

In­deed, the show’s styling re­in­forced the idea of en­trap­ment and suf­fo­ca­tion as in­tri­cately and beau­ti­fully wo­ven, form-fit­ting death masks ob­scured the mod­els’ faces.

The choice of the Cen­tqua­tre art cen­tre in Paris’ gritty 19th Ar­rondisse­ment was mor­bidly ap­pro­pri­ate. The space, now a ex­pan­sive open pav­il­ion with a vast glass and steel roof, once housed Paris’ staterun mor­tu­ary. – Reuters

Hard yet soft: Mod­els in Sarah bur­ton cre­ations for alexan­der Mc­Queen at the Spring/Sum­mer 2012 ready-towear col­lec­tion show in Paris. Strength and fem­i­nin­ity went hand-in-hand in form-fit­ting jack­ets, ar­mour­like corseted tor­sos with soft chif­fon bil­low­ing be­neath, baby­doll dresses and death masks.

unique heels and hand ac­ces­sory by bri­tish fash­ion de­signer Sarah bur­ton.

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