Exquisite. The Alexander McQueen Autumn|Winter 2013 ready-to-wear presentation in Paris literally took one’s breath away. There were just ten looks (Sarah Burton’s pregnancy dictated an abbreviated collection), but what looks! Richly embroidered bodices, dresses encrusted with pearls, even ruffs (oh-so-fashionable during the seventeenth century!).
The finale was a white-and-gold-embroidered confection that Queen Elizabeth I would have loved. England’s Virgin Queen (in common with her mother, Anne Boleyn) was obsessed with sumptuous dresses, each elaborate gown said to have been worn only once. But Ms. Burton had other sources of inspiration, ranging “from communion gowns to cardinals’ robes.” Personally, I was reminded of the Russian artist Erté when I first saw not one, but two extraordinary black evening dresses- both short in front and long in back, pearls gleaming absolutely everywhere. The Marchesa Casati would have been thrilled.
But what about the rest of us? Is the collection the least bit wearable? Alas, it is not, unless you happen to sing for your supper; not difficult to imagine recording artists snapping up the black dress encrusted with pearls. And while it is a pleasure to see how Ms. Burton shares Alexander McQueen’s fascination with spectacle, one hopes the Spring|Summer 2014 ready-to-wear collection will include looks destined to attract a wider swathe of McQueen fans. | Katja Anderson
pictures courtesy Giovanni Giannoni