The insect kingdom, from crystal bugs to butterfly drapes and silhouettes, were incorporated in Sarah Burton’s Autumn/Winter 2018 collection for the brand, paying homage to the complexity that has become a hallmark of the McQueen atelier.
The eponymous Alexander McQueen skull has been replaced – albeit temporarily because no one can mess with the brand’s very strong ‘skeletal’ identity – by the beetle. The insect kingdom, from crystal bugs to butterfly drapes and silhouettes, were incorporated in Sarah Burton’s Autumn/ Winter 2018 collection for the brand and as always, it was astounding.
The collection featured elegant pieces with designs inspired by butterflies, and the process of metamorphosis. Depicting transformation, the brand illustrated the beauty of change.
Using traditional tailcoats and contrasting red stripes, Burton incorporated silk scarves and trendy fringe to depict the concept behind the collection. The references were displayed through distinctive patterns, seen on butterflies’ wings, humbling McQueen’s tradition of artistry. The line also debuted satin scarves, wrapping tuxedos with silk lapels into a bow with shoulders portrayed as butterfly wings. Videos of the show, on the brand’s Instagram page, put on display the fluidity of movement and the depth of creativity that has gone into this collection, undoubtedly one of the strongest of the season.
As Claudia Croft wrote in Vogue, one tulle dress in the collection was covered with 1483 individually embroidered bugs depicting 37 different species. A skirt version of the same look featured 873 bugs and 97 different bug species. Each bejewelled bug was made by hand then stitched onto the dress.
Displayed next to these gowns was a series of bird of paradise inspired capes and dresses featuring lengths of lavish fringing. Each gown was constructed to a couture-level complexity that has become a hallmark of the McQueen atelier. The threads are individually colour blended by hand, then stitched into place in layers to create a thick fringe. Anyone thinking of buying one of these pieces should know this: the best way to keep it looking shiny, silky and smooth is with a pair of hair straighteners. Each look on the runway was combed and coiffed before its catwalk moment.
Embracing women empowerment, Sarah Burton also used sophisticated shades of red and insect embroideries were creatively placed on lace skirts, styled with black boots also embroidered. One has seen beetles on clothes numerous times, but the focal point here wasn’t the crystal embellishment but the concept behind the collection and the way the embellishment had been added to complement the silhouettes.