Thank god for Sarah Burton.
After a day that threatened to be overshadowed by yet another display of petty defensiveness from a designer in response to Cathy Horyn’s cutting reviews (this time from Hedi Slimane, who, after Horyn slammed his debut collection for Yves Saint Laurent, took to his website to call her a “schoolyard bully” and accused her of being biased towards Raf Simons), how refreshing to see a truly fantastic collection without any designer ego.
For Alexander McQueen’s spring 2013, Sarah Burton was inspired by bees. Before the show even began a buzzing noise filled the venue and a screen showed projections of bees buzzing in hives. The runway was done in a honeycomb pattern.
When the show started the bee-theme manifested itself on fitted, honeycomb printed jackets with a peplum (I suppose they were “wasp waisted” har har) over sheer honeycomb cropped pants, fit-and-flare skirts, and short shorts–all of it done up in golden honey colors. Models were haute apiarists in structured honeycombed hats that came down over their eyes. Shoes were honeycomb printed as well–from ankle boots to thigh highs. Bees make that sweet honey but don’t forget–like any woman who knows how to use her feminine wiles, they can sting too. The sting was in the dominatrix edge: cages over tight corsets and hoop skirts.
The structured, fitted feminine silhouettes (a nod to the McQueen archives) seemed a response to last year’s voluminous ruffle explosion. But you can’t have a proper dramatic finale with about a little bit of volume, and for spring Sarah Burton went with hoop skirts, which got bigger and more embellished as they reached the final look. Models looked like they were floating down the runway. And for the final touch–The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar” played during the final walk through. After all the jarring buzzing and abstract noise that played before and during the show, it was the perfect end to a pretty perfect show. Props to Tim Blanks for dubbing Burton the “McQueen Bee.”