I went home, back to where I’m from in the North of England. All my childhood memories are of growing up in these mill towns and this beautiful, wild countryside at the foot of the Pennines,” said Sarah Burton as she looked around at the Alexander McQueen collection she had created.https://www.instagram.com/p/BumWbaGBV_7/?utm_source=ig_embedFirst and foremost, there were roses, big and fat, shaped and draped as though creating the perfect flower – and one that will not, by nature, wilt and wither. Except that there are always imperfections in the McQueen details, with floral shapes crunched into place.https://www.instagram.com/p/BumV4fVBHtw/?utm_source=ig_embedThat sense of nature with fluttering wings that ran through the show has been part of the McQueen oeuvre since the days of its founder. But this Sarah Burton show seemed more personal, as the designer explained the wool rollers that served as seating for the show and how she grew up as the mills closed, one by one, at the end of an era of hand workers. One photograph backstage showed a man from the mills, 40 years in the job, stretching gnarled hands towards the fabric.
“Although some mills don’t exist anymore – they were all closing when I was growing up – I wanted to go there and take the team to the factories that are still producing and show the idea of man and machine, and how you can coexist with the countryside,” the designer said. “But this collection really started with a bolt of fabric and men’s tailoring. It’s also about a hand, man and machine, and how these machines are still threaded by hand and all these needles.”
Burton could make a cockroach sound enticing. But this Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, although similar in spirit to other shows the designer has created, was slightly sharper than usual, the country elements harsher, like shoe-boots covered in needles of silvered metal. Metallic threads likewise covered an entire dress.