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Paris Fashion Week: Designer Sarah Burton's gentler Alexander McQueen

October 5, 2010 |  5:07 pm


Designer Sarah Burton's first women's show for Alexander McQueen didn't have the tortured genius of the namesake designer who committed suicide in February. But the clothes may have been better for it.

Although there was much about the collection that was familiar (the use of butterflies and gold bullion for example), Burton banished McQueen's famously restrictive neckpieces, headdresses and hobbling shoes with a woman's touch.

She introduced a new softness to the house's tailoring tradition with a fraying white jacket and tailcoat that had slits cut at the shoulders for range of motion, and a short skirt with feminine scalloped and pleated details.


A gold print jacket in a rounded silhouette, with matching skirt, looked as if they would also be forgiving. Even the shoes -- lacquered platforms sculpted into butterfly shapes -- seemed a tad less treacherous than you'd expect to see on a McQueen catwalk.

Not that Burton doesn't have the power to shock and amaze. There were many over-the-top showstoppers, including a "corn dollie" dress made of wheat grass and corn husks, a dress covered in handpainted feather butterflies, and another with cut leather leaves.


But between the exaggerated hips and amazing hand craftsmanship, there was also an emphasis on the wearable, as evidenced by two floaty silk gold feather print gowns with a boho spirit, as well as a stunning evening suit with cropped black pants, a lace shell and a cutaway tuxedo vest.

Which is all to say that McQueen the man may be gone, but McQueen the business must continue. And thanks to Burton, it's off to a solid start.

-- Booth Moore in Paris

Alexander McQueen spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery

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