Futurism — a theme core to the Alexander McQueen aesthetic over theyears. Toward the end of his life, the house founder worked the topic toa dark conclusion: man’s abuse of his environment would lead ultimatelyto a (highly romanticized) reversal of the evolutionary process. In abold statement of stewardship of the house, for fall Sarah Burtontackled the same theme and arrived at a very different place. “It’sfuturism with softness, not cold futurism,” she said in a preview. Inher view, man and nature are not at odds. “It’s looking forward in acompletely positive way.”

Burton expressed her viewpoint in acollection all about lightness with a core of power — and the emotionthat makes McQueen McQueen. Her futuristic princesses may wear“exploded” silhouettes in pristine white jacquards or enormous froths ofpink feathers, but they hide behind wide, sleek visors through whichthey both see and are shielded from the world.

Story-telling?Most definitely. But fashion needs stories and wonder and provocation,just as, ultimately, fashion brands need something to sell. The latterwas nowhere in sight on Burton’s runway. But anyone doubting heraffinity for the essential declination from fantastical show pieces tothe stuff of ultrachic viability — in case the Kate Middleton sightingsaren’t enough — should visit the showroom. There, in shades of softpinks and grays along with black, a knockout commercial collectionconnected back with savvy elegance, while indeed pointing to a positivefuture ahead.

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