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Alexander McQueen Womenswear A/W11

Sarah Burton reaches new majestic heights with her second collection for McQueen shown at La Conciergerie

For some memories would reside of Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen’s show at Paris’ La Conciergerie where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned where wolves were present. Sarah Burton took that memory head on and sought to create a new one, where questions of whether she can fully take on McQueen’s legacy (answered as a strong affirmative following last season) were to be buried. In fact she proved she could hold her own court by sending out ice queens that whilst being majestic, made no reference to 21st century princesses (Another question hopefully buried – will she be designing Kate middleton’s wedding dress? We give it odds of 1/50) but rather to the fictional and fantasy queens of Burton’s imagination with no discernible time period to box these ensembles in.

What they were unmistakably were silhouettes of Alexander McQueen’s hand, the familiar ultra sharp tailoring given a sword-like edge with metal neck cuffs and metal-accented leather straps that criss-crossed the body in corset motion pointing to McQueen’s darker and sex-ridden side. Sticking mostly to shades between white and black, Burton injected the romantic sensibility of her first debut into the finishing of the pieces with tweed suits with fur peaking up at the shoulders, running down the sharp zippered jackets cum dresses and flaring out from the hips of jackets. The shaved use of fur also created a feather like texture that was effective when flaring out into dramatic skirts. It was undeniably the last portion of the show where a familiar sense of drama came all over a series of gowns and dresses that combined Burton’s unbridled romantic sensibility with McQueen’s love of drama.

It was a poetic passage that frothed and flounced with an abundance of organza and concertina crinoline skirts that gave the shorter dresses a lightness as they moved. When trailing the ground, no doubt a certain pending wedding will have entered people’s mind but let’s be honest, would the future Queen Kate be able to handle shards of porcelain intricately covering a corset, a literal crest embroidered onto the bodice or just the excess of fabric that left the audience in raptures. It could be a dramatic note too high. Better to imagine them on the ethereal ice-queens in our heads.