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Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 - Runway Review

Making a triumphant return to the venue where she worked on her very first Alexander McQueen show 20 years ago, Sarah Burton’s decision was a most practical one: she’s 38 weeks pregnant. Nonetheless, the homecoming – not just to London but to the Royal Horticultural Halls, a venue where Burton worked on that aforementioned very first show – resulted in a stunning collection, and a fashion spectacle with soul.

“Women’s obsessions, and flowers that bloom at night,” was the designer’s inspiration point. The show began with glossy black coats and dresses embroidered with perfume bottles, swans, lipsticked mouths, butterflies, moons – an eclectic collection of symbols of womanhood. The same motifs, shrunk to the size of jeweled charms, featured on sexy, sheer and cut-out lace and ruffle cocktail dresses in black and powder pink, worn with marabou-feather trimmed sandals or under quilted silk-satin eiderdown coats. A perfect tuxedo jacket with a slightly exaggerated shoulder – subtly but unmistakably McQueen – went over a barely there slip.

For all the lyrical references, there was a pleasing directness to this collection. Real-world cocktail wear segued into red carpet drama: a sheer, polka dot net dress with a unicorn caught the eye on the catwalk, but the more classically embroidered gold-and-pearl toned gowns, bodices shaped and enlivened by close embroidery, looked ready to hit the Oscar red carpet.

Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 - Backstage

Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 - Atmosphere