There are tricks and traits that one hopes to see at a McQueen show. Animal shapes, textures and print are a common trope, as are utopian vs dystopian, or tailoring with flowing feminine shapes. They were here for A/W 18, a metamorphosis of cut and flow, of pattern and texture. Sarah Burton had been looking to insect prints and patterns and to the magical transformation of femininity. This transformation is something that Burton had knocked out of the park with this collection. It’s been a progressive update season to season; if we think about the femininity that Lee offered for the house, it was daring and pushy, it was experimental and provocative. Burton has taken those elements and transformed them into this ultra-luxurious woman, who’s optimistic and tenacious.
This collection was quintessentially British but still with an element of exoticism and romance. The Heritage McQueen aspects; strong tailoring and shoulders, bold reds, broached shawls and personalised Aran knits that sat on each guest’s chair (Thank you McQueen!) were elegantly Anglo, while striking raw-cut leathers, ornately sequinned beetles on sheer belted dress, and the return of long, dip-dye fringing, felt sumptuous and almost amazonian in mood. This too could be seen in the slicked, long plaits and the copious leather bodices that held women in shape.
There was a variety of shape and silhouette provided not only the clothes but by the models too; one model, with ample décolletage, looked incredible in a sumptuous leather body - one wonders why all brands don’t follow suit with their casting. Textures were tactile and heavy; embellishments, woven animal prints, puffer jackets and pearl drop earrings were so inviting one wanted to reach out and touch. The shoes throughout mirrored the aforementioned symbiosis of British tradition and bold modernity, they were updated riding boots in sharp black leather with trims of white, red, burgundy and Everest green. I couldn’t look away. This hybridisation was best seen in a blazer-cum-prom-dress that merged from a sharp suit to pouffe pink. Burton’s A/W 18 was inviting and friendly but also stompingly intimidating and ferocious. A winner of a collection.