The innocence of novices and the humility of the Amish was Sarah Burton’s vision for pre-fall. On a mood board in the house’s London studio, an image of Audrey Hepburn in “The Nun’s Story” sat next to pictures of stained-glass windows, Catholic and orthodox priests, Amish women and Sophia Loren in “White Sister,” all of which translated into a collection that called on the motifs of high and low church, papal robes, clerical vestments and puritanical Amish dress.
There was a strong riff on capes — the sleeves of dresses and coats wrapped around the arm to fall as a chasuble in the back, while an actual red cape had allover black ribbon embroidery. The contrast between high and low church was played out in fabrics. A full-sleeved and skirted white cotton poplin dress — with a high brass-studded collar — had echoes of monkish simplicity, while heavy 3-D tape embroidery, flocked wool felt and intricate metal embellishments on velvet demonstrated the richness and luxury of liturgical vestments. Fur added an extra layer of luxury but patched mink was shaved to give a subtler matte appearance, while knitwear featured jacquard stained-glass window patterns.
Shoes and boots featured pronounced pilgrim buckles and an acorn was featured in long pendants, tying nature in to the story.