Sarah Burton’s winter trip to Cornwall, the southernmost county of the United Kingdom, inspired the designer to celebrate the mysterious powers of nature in her fall/winter 2017 collection for Alexander McQueen.
Burton cited paganism subcultures, ancient traditions, stone circles, medieval churches, creative communities, and the ‘Cloutie’ or ‘wishing’ trees – onto which people tie rags and ribbons as wishes and mementos – as the initial sources of inspiration for the fall collection. The designer’s ability to mix old-world references and tribal styles with modern silhouettes allowed for endless decorative possibilities and means of couture-level craftsmanship.
Throughout the collection’s 45 mouthwatering looks was a cacophony of highlights – long dresses decorated with colorful needlework and sensual, tailored pantsuits for evening, as well as structured overcoats and asymmetrical belted jackets. Artisanal embroidery and vibrant cross-stitching atop leather garments created tribal intensity while making medieval inspiration appear hopelessly modern. Tailored blazers and tuxedo jackets nipped at the waist were worn over wide-legged trousers, while tulle gowns dripped with delicate forms of embellishment. Burton cited the ‘Cloutie’ tree as the source of inspiration behind the collection’s shoelace detailing, while some designs included woven ribbons that gave the appearance of colorful tweed.
McQueen’s fall/winter 2017 collection was inclusive of the British countryside, female power, and medieval traditions, seen through a contemporary lens. Burton channeled every detail of Cornwall’s rich Celtic history to create a unique collection that both honored and modernized the Middle Ages – one that would have made the house’s late founder tremendously proud.