Sarah Burton presented a romantic bohemian rendition of the McQueen aesthetic, drawing on English folklore. The Alexander McQueen SS16 collection looks back to the people of 17th century Spitalfields, to the Huguenot migrants who arrived in London as religious refugees escaping catholic persecution in France. The collection reflects the knowledge they brought with them, their skill in silk weaving and a love of naturalistic floral designs.
Soft, feminine dresses with ruffles, balanced out with chain harnesses laden with charms and Huguenot crosses swayed over the runway. There was a sense of romance and modernity at the same time, as dresses with prudent high collars were contrasted by jeweled-up denims with exaggerated cuffs, and floor-length fishnet dresses. Huguenot floral designs of hand-painted roses and forget-me-not’s came back to life on Victorian silhouettes with corseted bodices, the fabrics looking slightly aged and decayed as if they were actually woven by the hands of a French artisan.
The collection as a whole represents an evolution of romantic aesthetic, as it starts with temperate white dresses that subtly fade into stale pink and grow ruffles and chains, becoming more and more cheeky as the hemlines of the dresses crawl up, only to come down again in the self-confident bohemian floral dresses that follow. These then transform into dark femme fatales in evening-dresses that mix old-school gothic with 1920s flapper chic. The final piece is a rugged yet delicate powder-pink dress that has a classic feel to it, regardless of the boudoiresque spaghetti straps, and is definitely the crown of this collection.