Exploding petals. Women as flowers. Cascading, swirling, outsize pink blooms made of organza and feather. Thistledown and dandelion clocks shivering on layer upon layer of tulle. Sarah Burton has been thinking about “a beautiful future” for fall: “A kind of soft futurism. Not cold and structured, but optimistic and forward-looking.”
Lee McQueen, her late boss, was fascinated by nature, but Burton’s way of looking at it is different. Where McQueen explored its darkly sinister forces, her drive is to capture something light and wondrous—but no less fully dramatic. In many ways, her show was faithful to his legacy. It’s there in the topping and tailing of each look with a mirrored Plexiglas visor and hoof-like, heel-less boots, shod with a horseshoe in the platform. It’s there in the creamy nipped-waisted, full-skirted coats with high-stacked Mongolian fur collars that opened the show. And more fundamentally, it’s there in Burton’s nurturing of the amazing McQueen workshop, a force of dozens of skilled artisans bent on finessing 3-D flower embroideries, pin-tucking, pleating, and placing marabou feathers for hundreds of hours: London’s closest rivals to the upper echelons of Paris couture endeavor.