Sarah Burton Creates An Urban Fairytale For Alexander McQueen SS ’21

by Freya Drohan

Now here’s something you don’t see everyday: models wading knee-deep in the murky waters of the River Thames while wearing Alexander McQueen. But this is 2020; and there is no ‘normal’ or expected way to show a collection anymore. Thus, to reveal her Spring Summer offering, creative director Sarah Burton tapped director Jonathan Glazer to create a dramatic short film that was anything but formulaic.

The five-minute flick had all the makings of a cinematic experience we’ve been missing since movie theaters shut down in spring: illicit kissing, leather-clad boys with bleached cropped hair,  tears, tulle, and a tea party of sorts. Meanwhile the eerily grey setting, and relative silence, served as the perfectly stark backdrop for a collection that was so far from dull and grim itself. While Burton is usually preoccupied with making as many references to nature as possible, this was more about an urban setting. Suffice to say, against the muted river banks and under the bridge, Burton’s mastery of silhouette, shape, and volume shone through.

The focus here was on “the beauty of the bare bones of clothing stripped back to its essence [in] a world charged with emotion and human connection.” That was conveyed in some of Burton’s most adored hits: butterfly-style draping, exaggerated leg of mutton sleeves and rounded shoulders, impeccably tailored outerwear and suiting, leather, hybrid coats, and delicate, ethereal bodices and corsetry that managed to look simultaneously like armor for a tough city slicker.

Like the Pre-Fall collection, the soft yet strong color palette here of blush, bone, ivory, and black—plus Prince of Wales check and washed blue denim—was pared-back yet perfectly all-encompassing for the type of statement we want to wear now. Coupled with punk studded shoes, sculptural jewelry, and the new Curve bag.

With these pieces, we’re ready for a starring role in our own urbane feature flick.

See the full womenswear Spring Summer ’21 collection below:

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