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Paris Fashion Week: At Alexander McQueen, dresses fit for a queen

March 9, 2011 | 10:48 am


This has been the fashion season of the Twitter-fueled rumor mill. A few days ago, it spread like wildfire that Sarah Burton, the creative director for Alexander McQueen, would be designing Kate Middleton's wedding dress. Burton's people emphatically denied it.

Which is too bad, because she would have been an amazing choice from the look of the snowy white dresses in her fall collection, inspired by an Ice Queen and her court.

The show was held at the Conciergerie, which was the antechamber to the guillotine during the French Revolution, holding thousands of prisoners, including Marie Antoinette. It was also the site of one of McQueen's most memorable shows, where live wolves walked the runway.


So it was suitably eerie. And from the first look, a white handwoven degrade tweed coat that dissolved into fur at the hems and shoulders, it was clear that the late designer was there in spirit.


Burton continued to play with tweed and checked velvets as the collection took a dark turn. Armor-like black dresses, traced in zippers, were fitted with elaborate harnasses and hardware evoking torture devices, and worn with bondage boots. Coats cinched the waist, in woven and studded velvet.


Then, the fog lifted and out came angelic-looking gowns in fraying organza embroidered with pearls. One of the most extraordinary pieces had a bodice made from pieces of bone china. And the finale gown, with it's enormous tulle skirt, seemed to carry the model down the runway, as if on a cloud.


It was quite an impressive second collection for Burton, and a terrific prelude to the upcoming McQueen exhibition opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in May.

But mostly, when the snow queens rounded the runway to applause, it was nice to see a happy ending at the end of a very dark fairy tale.

--Booth Moore in Paris


Alexander McQueen fall-winter 2011 runway collection photo gallery


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Photos: Looks from the Alexander McQueen fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times.