Futurism — a theme core to the Alexander McQueen aesthetic over the years. Toward the end of his life, the house founder worked the topic to a dark conclusion: man’s abuse of his environment would lead ultimately to a (highly romanticized) reversal of the evolutionary process. In a bold statement of stewardship of the house, for fall Sarah Burton tackled the same theme and arrived at a very different place. “It’s futurism with softness, not cold futurism,” she said in a preview. In her view, man and nature are not at odds. “It’s looking forward in a completely positive way.”
Burton expressed her viewpoint in a collection all about lightness with a core of power — and the emotion that makes McQueen McQueen. Her futuristic princesses may wear “exploded” silhouettes in pristine white jacquards or enormous froths of pink feathers, but they hide behind wide, sleek visors through which they 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 latter was nowhere in sight on Burton’s runway. But anyone doubting her affinity for the essential declination from fantastical show pieces to the stuff of ultrachic viability — in case the Kate Middleton sightings aren’t enough — should visit the showroom. There, in shades of soft pinks and grays along with black, a knockout commercial collection connected back with savvy elegance, while indeed pointing to a positive future ahead.