Last season saw McQueen experiment with British heritage prints - checks, houndstooth, trench-coats. This season was, of course, quintessentially British, but looked to a scene and moment for reference. Creative Director Sarah Burton was channelling the spirit and emotion of one of the greatest British artists, Francis Bacon.
Bacon’s notoriously chaotic studio space, with sponged and smeared walls, served as a decorative motif throughout the collection. Models were treated as a blank canvas covered in paint, with chest exposed and their face blue. Overalls were hanging from the waist and over belt as if the model had just rolled from finishing a masterpiece. Slim-line jackets and trousers were covered in Bacon’s wall prints and were beautifully finished with almost lacquered black square toe boots and visible shirt cuffs. These prints were bright, citrusy and were made all the more magical with a Burton meets Bacon accent.
Hand-painted marks were carried through onto leather trouser and jacket, giving a slightly punk Soho aesthetic, and squiggled doodles and sketch marks on white suit could have been pulled straight from a sketchbook. The real strength here was the silhouettes. Burton had made them powerful and sharp, with super cinched waists and dipped trench-coats. The latter of which were elegant and timeless; some ripped in another colour, some dipped in leather.
There was a welcome vulnerability amongst all this razor-sharp tailoring, with cotton silk jacquards and broad brush strokes swept across coat and jacket. Strong leathers against delicate pinks, optic stripes and military coats, silks and pinstripe suiting. This menswear collection was an elevation from last season, it was slick and so brilliantly edited. One hopes that Burton will pull new codes from this collection and that these greats will continue for another season.