The Burton Reign

12.03.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

It’s been two years since Sarah Burton was appointed creative director of Alexander McQueen. Since then, her success at the label has been nothing short of a phoenix rising from the ashes.

Following the tragic and sudden loss of Lee McQueen, his design assistant for over 14 years was immediately thrust into the large gap that the English enfant terrible of fashion had left. Aside from the mourning of such a close friend, the expectations on Burton to continue his legacy were another heavy burden for the Manchester-born designer to carry.

But rather than crumble under the pressure, she excelled. From the delicate, earth motherly collection for Spring/Summer 2011 with which she made her debut to the futuristically astounding designs for this season, Burton has stepped out of the shadow of Lee McQueen to become a distinguishable design talent in her own right. Here is a woman who unarguably embeds the label’s DNA into every piece, but has considerably lightened up the overall feel of every collection from the at times dark and tortured soul that we knew and loved about the late designer’s collections to something softer, but equally breathtaking.

There is not just her accomplishments at the main line label to praise: having debuted the brand’s diffusion line McQ on the runway in a military

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and forest-inspired show this London Fashion Week, as well as establishing its first standalone boutique in the capital, Burton isn’t just continuing the brand founded by her mentor, she is reviving it. Managing to guide the label from a desolate tragedy into a bright future, it’s safe to say that Lee McQueen wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

alexandermcqueen.com
m-c-q.com

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PFW Round Up

07.03.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

To many, Paris is the city of love. More importantly however, it is the city of fashion, which could not have been made more clear than through the variety of awe-inspiring runway shows this A/W 12 season. Twin recounts our favourite collections of Paris Fashion Week….

Alexander McQueen

Oversized visor/sunglass hybrids, shaggy fur trimming and heeless, leather strap boots were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Sarah Burton’s extraordinary A/W 12 collection for Alexander McQueen. As always, there was no shortage of craftsmanship and detailing. Victorian ruffle collars, rolled pleating, laser leather cutouts and delicate floral appliques and embroidery heightened the luxury of the alpine white, pale pink, rose lavender and fuchsia pieces.

Despite the collection’s at times very voluminous silhouettes, silver waist-cinching belts and shorter hemlines still let the sensual side of the McQueen woman shine through. With gravity-defying silk chiffon standing away from the body like a sea anemone, intricately reworked velvet bearing floral shapes and marabou feather hems, Burton even managed to add a touch of earth to an otherwordly collection.

Celine

Phoebe Philo’s vision of the Celine woman has always been a modern and streamlined one. This season, she added a dash of athleticism and bold colours to that equation.

The designer’s signature colour palette of black and white was amped up through the addition of azure blue, fuchsia, rose pink, aubergine and vermilion red, while oversized wool coats, double piping on front-pleated trousers and striped crew neck jumpers gave the collection a more casual feel. But in fabrics such as supple leather and fur, each piece still had that unmistakable touch of Celine luxury.

Chalayan

In this collection, intricate prints resembled the hasty stroke of a painter’s brush, and paint Hussein Chalayan did with colours including crimson, teal, camel, tenné, emerald, fluorescent orange and green.

The silhouettes were streamlined in the form of oversized single-button coats, tunics and shift dresses, but always good for the unexpected detail, he added large cutouts, as well as rectangular bands in contrast collars to cinch in pieces at the waist and bust, not to mention reflective silver lamé panelling, trousers and brogues. Whether artistic or futuristic, every piece bore the Chalayan signature.

Chanel

Considering the high value that Karl Lagerfeld has in the fashion industry, it was only a matter of time before he produced a collection inspired by precious stones. If the set design of oversize crystals jutting out of the ground wasn’t hint enough, this season’s Chanel colour palette was all about the emerald greens, amethyst purples, ruby reds, golds, antique silvers and sapphire blues.

Whether interwoven with the house’s signature tweed or sewn into the sleeves, pockets and breast of a flared wool coat dress, Lagerfeld’s chromatic approach this season only heightened the luxury of the gemstone, feather and lace-crafted pieces. Their point of inspiration may date back to the beginning of time, but thanks to a mixture of architecturally sculpted and relaxed silhouettes, every look was pure modernity. Topped off with crystal eyebrows and Perspex-heeled pumps, this collection proved (once again) why Coco and Karl are the perfect match.

Stella McCartney

If anyone still associated the name Stella McCartney with The Beatles before, then this collection broke that bond once and for all. Working with colours of black, cyan, hot pink, charcoal, dark brown and white, it was a milestone in her journey from famous daughter to design star in her own right.

McCartney’s time at Saville Row made its mark in the tailoring of padded hips, oversized, rectangular cuts, and rounded shoulders, giving every piece a strong sense of structuring while offsetting the more feminine elements such as foliage embroidery and curve-tracing colour blocking. Her tribute to English style didn’t stop there: cozy waffle knit cardigans and dresses worn over Oxford button-downs, as well as A-line skirts in fabrics such as tweed, wool, mohair, crepe paid tribute to McCartney’s heritage. Balance being one of her strong suits, hip-slung, wide-legged trousers, streamlined clutchs, and contrast-coloured pumps and ankle boots gave everything an urban twist.

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McQueen of the Runway

22.02.2012 | Blog | BY:

McQ showed on the catwalk at for the first time in its six year history in what was a powerful assertion of the label’s place within Alexander McQueen’s legacy. All the McQueen DNA was present at McQ’s A/W12 show at The Sorting Office High Holborn, but simply delivered in a more compact and accessible package.

Taking a stripped back wartime aesthetic as her starting point, with felted wool and tan and hunter green tailoring, Sarah Burton weaved a collection that was in parts army surplus and in others Black Watch. To finish were beautiful tulle and applique dresses reminiscent of the luxury and excess of Dior’s New Look – modelled by Kristen McMenamy with a gothic twist.

This was a collection of retro-romanticism rendered in rich fabrics and dark tones, proving the almost impossible, that a diffusion range can still be luxurious and beautifully tailored – prepare to see more McQ everyday.

mcq.com

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Protege Programme

17.02.2012 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

With a week’s worth of womenswear and menswear shows kicking off today, a new crop of fresh design talents will be making their London Fashion Week mark.

For this season, expect to see the collections of David Koma, Holly Fulton, J.JS Lee, J.W. Anderson, Michael van der Ham and Simone Rocha on the runway, as well as Christopher Raeburn, Thomas Tait, Nasir Mazhar, Sister by Sibling, Huishan Zhang, James Long, Lucas Nascimento, Tim Soar and Palmer//Harding presenting their unique designs in installations and exhibitions.

Helping them flourish in the fashion capital is the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative, founded in 1993 and sponsored by Topshop. The scheme offers young creatives a platform to showcase their designs at Somerset House, as well as offering financial and business support.

With past recipients including Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Meadham Kirchhoff, the future is looking more than bright for this next generation of fashion talent. After all, there’s nothing like a new kid on the block to shake things up.

britishfashioncouncil.co.uk

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God Save McQueen

11.07.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

French photographer and filmmaker Babette Pauthier’s video God Save McQueen is a study in dark kaleidoscopic beauty. Having already shot a series of still lives for the Alexander McQueen SS11 scarf collection, this film is a reverie of light and movement.

“It’s a metaphor for a constant rebirth through butterflies hatching out their chrysalis,” says Pauthier. “I was also inspired by Parmenides of Elea and his poem On Nature and on A rebours (Against Nature) by Joris-Karl Huysmans. It’s also a sort of homage to the designer himself.”

With its choral music and flickering insect imagery, God Save McQueen is a transcendent ode to the designer whose iconic skull scarf is part of his enduring legacy.

babettepauthier.co.uk

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Road tripping

28.03.2011 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Last summer, Twin contributor Niall O’Brien drove 6,000 miles across the American Northwest to shoot the McQ SS/11 campaign. Along with a small team of intrepid fashion road-trippers, they beat it up the coast of California into Washington State, Montana and Idaho, stopping off whenever the mood took them to shoot the collection along the way.

“When we stopped, it was usually at rivers and small towns where we’d end up hanging out with kids and locals, drinking beers, swimming, exploring and having fun,” says Niall.

The result is a fashion travelogue that is both an ode to young Americans. Be sure to keep an eye on the McQ website over the coming days as more images from the road trip appear on their Tumblr.

m-c-q.com

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Don’t call it a comeback

13.12.2010 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

To tell the story of the last forty years of fashion is no mean feat. And yet, in Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, curator Olivier Salliard has done just that, conveying fashion’s changing moods, trends and attitudes with ease. Now in its second instalment, Les Années 1990-2000, the show is a master class in display. Mirrors guide the eye from collar to cuff, and onto the next collection, garments float on mid-air mannequins and captions take the form of labelled leaves of translucent paper artfully strewn across the museum floor.

Arranged via aesthetic rather than chronology, viewers move from Belgian deconstruction and Japanese minimalism, to Martine Sitbon’s grunge. The first instalment of the exhibition (which is now closed) kicked off with Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 collection ‘Liberation’, commemorating the birth of pret-a-porter. Les Années 1990-2000 goes on to explore the rise – and delightful abandonment – of function in fashion. Exit through the gift shop via the drama of Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf.

Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine, vol. II: Les Années 1990-2000 is at Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris until 8th May 2011
lesartsdecoratifs.fr

Images courtesy of Guy Marineau and Philippe Brazil. Words by Sarah Smith

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