Monday 3rd February

| BY Claudia Croft

Alexander McQueen: Ready-to-wear AW20

The way women carry themselves in Alexander McQueen is something to remark upon. Nobody shrinks away in these clothes, nobody slouches. Sarah Burtons’ models inhabit them with graceful confidence. Maybe it’s the way the clothes are constructed, they hold you, support you, empower you. Maybe it’s the McQueen aesthetic of powerful romance that gives the women wearing it their strength and dignity. “I feel like you need to be heroic,” said Burton before the show.

Other words she used to describe her woman? “Courageous , grounded, bold.” There are multilayered stories stitched into every McQueen piece. This season Burton took inspiration from a visit to Wales, and talked of being inspired by the warmth of its artistic and poetic heritage, by its folklore and what she called “the soul of its craft.” In the History, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, she saw a patchworked tailor’s cape from the 1840s depicting biblical stories (It took over ten years to make, from the off-cuts of military uniforms). This inspired a series of tailored coats and jackets with figurative motifs of doves, a panther, a horse and even a leek embroidered by hand. Poets sleeve blouses were inspired by the heroines in Dylan Thomas’ poems, a leather bustier dress was swagged by a traditional Welsh Blanket. The country’s textile traditions were also reflected in lace evening dresses (including an stunning silver one on Adut). Burton upcycled wool flannels, woven in British mills from previous McQueen collections, and used them in graphic pattern blocks on her signature tailoring. These clothes aren’t cynical marketing exercises, they are loving crafted and considered. That’s what Burton brings to fashion.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.