A true Master of Ceremonies in Sarah Burton was understood in a masterful collection that looked intensely thought out from fabric to fashion, and colour to the work of cordwainers. She already has shown some tantalising collections made of a clear theme, cut and style with a common denominator of updating traditional dress for a modern man. This season, tradition and generational behaviour came to be seen in “male rites of passage”, where a transitional collection assured confidence in a whole breadth of incarnations of masculine activity.
Innocent lace constructions informed a sense of the younger man, carefree and most precious to those around him. Lace is now an interesting proposition in menswear with a few of the new designers repeatedly advocating its place, which I think can be justified by the work of designers like Astrid Andersen. She interprets the material in luxurious sportswear, but the lace Miss. Andersen uses looks, online, lesser in quality to that of Mrs. Burton. She shapes what looks like to be Burano lace into whole coats and trousers, in the most opulent and indulgent way by laser cutting patterns into coats and trousers, which mirrors the theme nicely as often no expense is spared to christen, wed or lay someone to rest. All of the fabrics look intensely desirable in quality and print.
As always in any McQueen collection, things were slightly off-kilter, like the centre parted hair and in the ingenious ways in which look were brought together. DIY elements that subverted the aesthetics of the time from which most styles came from, enhanced the vision with it more visible in the white, pure, childish sort of section that in the serious, black on black, jacquard skull suits. The coat linings worn as robes, fraying hems gave a feeling of something too precious again to be discarded. The most precious item/incarnation for me in the whole collection were the extremely fine cobweb-like knitwear, both black and white, that seem randomly sewn at first glance but actually contain intricate roses that dissipate, leaving the feeling of something created of chance and passion and in line with the fact that most rites of passage are to do with some form of love.
More melancholy, were the darker elements of the collection, like the ticking jacket that looked infested with embroidered black roses. The cuts and shapes here were noticeably less loose, with structured garments hearkening back to the dandies of Edwardian times. The ‘perfect gentlemen’ were subverted into a wholly different perfect eccentricity in the sculpted waists of the blazers, emblazoned with black lace and fleur de lis. Also the modern touches of the ankle length trousers and a slight grunge air in the sun-bleached, lovingly used effect with loosely sewn buttons and loosely, but exceptionally tailored shorts made the pieces wearable in most situations for today.
I have to say the styling done with the shoes also was quite useful in transforming the theme of most looks. The monochrome shoes all served purposes, as the oxfords made the looks more self-asssured with importance while the cut-out monk (I know there is a proper name for these as I have seen children wearing them in 19th century photos) shoes, further softened a beautiful floral suit and dressed down darker suits with full length coats. The black, foreboding boots at the end were for the final undertakers.