Somehow, descriptions of soft pink ruffles and floral patterns conjures up images of LAURA ASHLEY… but Laura Ashley is as dead as her HOLLY HOBBY looks are. But when we think of soft pink ruffles and floral patterns, who do we think of? EMANUEL UNGARO? CAROLINA HERRERA? Well, think again. Think SARAH BURTON for ALEXANDER MCQUEEN’s SPRING/SUMMER 2016 collection. But banish any thoughts of Laura Ashley or Emanuel Ungaro - this is the HOUSE OF MCQUEEN, after all. Burton, a pink English rose herself, and a country girl in tune with nature, takes her historical theme of the HUGUENOT PROTESTANT silk weavers from FRANCE fleeing religious persecution and settling in LONDON… and shakes it up, turns it over, inside and out, and serves it back to us, a la McQueen. Gone were the McQueen-ish hallmarks of seasons past - the toughness, the accoutrement, and shock value. But not the edge. What Burton got right for McQueen, the historical references, were exactly what VIVIENNE WESTWOOD got wrong in her collection. Burton’s negligee-style dresses in shattered, distressed and even wrinkled fabrics in shades of white, ivory and pink had a very romantic, ghostly, other-worldly feel to them. And the models, with their lovely, simple hairstyles and rosy pink complexions (gasp - at McQueen?) were the
perfect foil for the looks, which at first glance, seemed alarmingly simple. But only at first glance. Closer inspection revealed mind-numbingly complex work and fine, tiny detailing. An embroidered leather jacket in ivory was so delicately designed that it looked more like a ruffled organza blouse. The applied, circular-cut ruffles on the lace skirts trailed here and there as if they were vines. A white suit with fairly baggy pants was topped with a slim-cut, knee length Mandarin coat. With the coat buttoned only at the throat, it revealed underneath an exquisite, long, heavy silver-linked necklace that crossed over the abdomen, looped around the back of the waist, and fell into swags over the hips. Stunning and original. The non-ruffled, body-bearing, floor-length white fishnet dress, crocheted at the seams in black, was a welcome departure. As the floral prints came out, suddenly the look became very SECOND EMPIRE-ish, but more structured. The red and white military-inspired short jackets worn with sheer lace skirts with rows of ruffles for embellishment, were phenomenal. The thigh-length black and white lace corset-like top with long sleeves recalled a suit of armour, but when paired with the slim, floor-length fox fur skirts, Burton took us to places we’d never been. The finalé brought us back full-circle, featuring barely-there lace tops, but this time, the skirts were dozens and dozens of ruffles in shredded lace. All in all? Faaabulous. McQueen himself would be proud.