McQueen's legacy is in capable hands

Immaculately constructed romantic creations recall the late designer's softer side

I've had amazing support from an amazing team," said Sarah Burton following her debut collection for Alexander McQueen shown in Paris last night. The 35-year-old designer was appointed creative director of that label only weeks after the death of its founder in February this year and, less than nine months on, stepped out into the spotlight to take her bows for the first time.

Burton, who joined the company while still studying fashion at Central Saint Martin's in 1996, has been working with just the same tightly-knit team that McQueen himself always trusted throughout this tremendously difficult period – and the fruits of their labours have paid off.

Here were none of the pyrotechnics and only a hint of the dark sensibility that always ensured McQueen's audience was swept away to a strangely seductive and often challenging place. Instead, Burton chose to focus her attention on the designer's more gentle side and, above all, on the creation of the most beautiful clothes.

The tailoring with which Lee Alexander McQueen made his name was in evidence but cut in layers of ivory silk it was as unashamedly romantic as it was immaculately constructed. The engineered print-and-weave of which the designer was so very proud is in safe hands also. Inspired, this time, by the anatomy of the woman who chooses to wear it and by the flora and fauna of the natural world, it was both technically and artistically perfect.

It is well-known that, while her mentor was alive, Burton was responsible for the more obviously commercial side of his business. In this instance, however, she proved herself to be master of the show-piece too. Here were curvaceous dresses moulded into an exaggerated hour-glass silhouette and covered with jewel-coloured butterflies. More were woven in everything from horsehair to lacquered raffia, ears of wheat and straw.

Among the hallmarks of the McQueen heritage was the fusion of pioneering cut, fabric and proportion with a respect for hand-craftsmanship that is second to none. With the latter in mind, garlands of black leather ivy leaves wound their way around slender limbs; a patchwork of delicate embroideries encased torsos and tiny, painstakingly applied feathers fluttered across floor-sweeping skirts.

Last week Burton, speaking from the Alexander McQueen offices in London, told the fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily that anyone expecting the high drama of a McQueen presentation was likely to be disappointed. "I don't think [the show] will have as much angst in it. I think it will be softer," she said. Voluminous floral-print chiffon, cinched at the waist with a broad gilded belt, and dip-dyed tulle wrapped around the body in delicate pleats and folds were both testimony to that.

Neither is the theatrical nature of the McQueen blockbuster presentation on her agenda. "The spectacular show was very much Lee's territory," Burton said preferring, in this instance, to eschew any elaborate mise-en-scene in favour of a plain, raw, wooden set.

Any differences aside, and given that Burton worked alongside her mentor for 14 years, few ever doubted that she is the best person to uphold the values of his aesthetic.

Sarah Burton will never be Lee Alexander McQueen and she would never try to be. Instead, this was a hugely sensitive tribute to a man who inspired loyalty and admiration from all who were close to him and who look set to remain committed to the protection of his legacy for years to come.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Marketing & PR Assistant - NW London

    £15 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

    Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer

    £250 - £300 per day: Orgtel: Senior Network Integration/Test Engineer Berkshir...

    Software Developer - Newcastle - £30,000 - £37,000 + benefits

    £30000 - £37000 per annum + attractive benefits: Ashdown Group: .NET Developer...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home