“Romantic utility” was how Sarah Burton summed up her cruise collection for Alexander McQueen, which fused military cottons with elongated silhouettes reminiscent of Edwardian times and the Forties. A defined waist and neat, rounded shoulders characterized tailcoats, while sinuous dresses and skirts ended in a swish. References to Africa via oversize ocelot prints and dense embroideries with mirrors and shells added an exotic accent. And continuing to soften the London label’s hard edges, elaborately embroidered tulle gowns came sans corsets.

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