Alexander McQueen, under the direction of Sarah Burton, has lost all the old, shall we say, scare-factor, to be replaced instead with lovely, poetic, and unquestioningly beautiful clothes. A new cascade of frills swishes down the runway every season; this year's being peachy and creamy and, occasionally dark. Classic Alexander McQueen motifs, such as birds or lace-y ruffles, were present, but done in a soft and lady-like fashion, not as powerful, strong, or dark as McQueen created his women. This past summer, reminiscent days in my memory as fresh and melancholy as Burton's designs, I spent quite a few days making my way through the McQueen runway archive on Vogue .com. I found and studied collections joined together not visually, but mentally, seemingly unconnected links of thought that shared only the rare, classic motif, but were mainly different themes each season. Only in retrospect, explained through numerous biographies and books (my favorite being Gods and Kings: the Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano), does the strand of runway spectacles show the relevant journey of discovery that Alexander McQueen's lifetime design process was. Sarah Burton's reign at Alexander McQueen is more a visual journey, developing a clear, visual McQueen aesthetic. In that way, today's Alexander McQueen is more predictable, and therefore financially stable. Burton's agreeable designs leave little room for the controversy and hoopla that seemed to follow McQueen. The Alexander McQueen aesthetic was stabilized under Burton, for better, and for worse. For better, because of the lack of spontaneity; and worse, for the same reason. The clothes may not be as thoughtful, but Burton's outsider perspective allows for focus on a single statement, rather than McQueen's broad spectrum.
This season, she brought a poem of previous season's floral Victoriana, with artfully embroidered denim acting as the fresh blossom to the eye in the bouquet of wilting blooms.
Photos by Vogue Runway.