Sarah Burton is a sort of fashion wizard, whipping up the dreamiest modern-day collections rooted in a wealth of history. This season she took the team to Cornwall, England to study the landscape and mine the visual riches for inspiration. Clootie trees were the jumping off point. As part of Celtic tradition, these trees adorned with rags and ribbons are found near wells. The bits of cloth are typically dipped in the water of the well and tied to a branch as a prayer, usually to a saint, but in pre-Christian times the prayers were typically to a goddess or local nature spirit. The concept presented itself in the collection by way of fabric woven into leather and knitwear, with strands hanging as though the women were walking clootie trees—a nod to women as goddesses, the vessels of life to be revered and cherished, even prayed to.
Dresses with intricate needlepoint scenes of Cornwall might have been a tribute to the Tregellas Tapestries, a collection of panels of artwork that tell the history of Cornwall in an elaborate work of embroidery, appliqué, collage paint, wool, silks, metal, cork ,and wood. Whatever the inspiration, the handwork on these gowns was nothing short of extraordinary—as were the dresses beaded with silvery trees or a sheer gown embroidered with doves, foxes, and deer. Even the unadorned suits had a high-impact in their asymmetry and draping. Burton reached deep into her well of creativity this season and all of our fashion prayers were answered.