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Runway Rave:

March 19, 2012

Siren Calls: Alexander McQueen Spring 2012

Sarah Burton lists Gaia, ancient Greek Goddess of Earth and Sea, as inspiration for her aqueous spring runway

By Nancy Staab

Designer Sarah Burton’s third collection for house of Alexander McQueen channeled both her late master’s dark fetishism and the ethereal beauty found under the sea with supremely undulating, romantic pieces in nacreous shades from shell pink to coral.

Looks from Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 by Sarah Burton Looks from Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 by Sarah Burton

After designer Sarah Burton’s 2012 Spring runway show for Alexander McQueen in London, one fashion observer exclaimed that Burton should be elected the next member of the Chambre Syndicale--the elite group designated as couturier-level designers by an exacting French committee. We couldn’t agree more. The construction of these garments is stunning in its range, complexity and embellishment—from laser-like lace filigree and swirling cascades of ruffles (meant to vaguely resemble undulating jellyfish) to painstakingly-crafted pearl encrusted bodices, and barnacle-like pleats and folds. There are definitely elements of Burton’s mentor McQueen in some of the inky black garments, the severely nipped in and corseted waists and the slightly mysterious lace face masks worn on the runway. But the severity and hints of menace were warded off by the staggeringly feminine nature of the clothes—the pastel palette of lavenders, blush pinks, silvers, shell-whites, peaches and corals (the latter color no accident given the oceanic theme--a theme also chosen by Chanel this spring); the ruffles, lace and flounces, the confectionary baby doll dresses with mille feuille layers of petal-like ornamentation-- not to mention the enchanting pink petal-bedecked platform shoes. Some of these costumes look a little over-the-top on the runway but when pared down for McQueen’s official lookbook would suit a proper Princess like Kate Middleton just fine.