It was the Monday night evening slot for Alexander McQueen, and an indoor setting of canopies of flowers and delicate terracotta bricks was the setting. Last season Sarah Burton's design team took a trip to Cornwall. This season, their research trip took them to Great Dixter in East Sussex, a Tudor house with a famous 20th century arts and crafts garden. Backstage, Burton said, 'We went to the gardens and were inspired by the explosion of colour.' The moodboards backstage featured never ending images of flowers. This incredible collection was overflowing with femininity. The dresses were exquisite. Trails of roses climbed the backs of dresses as if they trailing across the wall of a secret garden. Some of the dresses were worn like a frock coat with jeans and flats. Like boyish flower fairies, these looks were near androgynous and super grounded. Burton's heart visibly burst with the most humble of joys when we all took it in turns after the show to tell her how absolutely gorgeous the pieces were. Not only does she create beautiful things, her sweet soul shines bright amongst an ongoing schedule of never ending shows and appointments. The most decorative of dresses weren't prim and dated in a saccharine way but romantic and lived in. The show notes talked of them bring couture inspired pieces that were 'warmed by sunlight...long cherished and worn and torn.'
Sarah Burton's near pagan design enquiry into the gifts of Mother Earth are much needed. The show notes also talked of its muse's strength when in nature, saying she is 'secure in its healing powers and its potential for the future.' On the catwalk, patent ankle boots did nothing but drive home how ruffled and frothy this season's offering is. A knitted jumper with zipped sections was decorated with shiny broaches, as if the girls were playing dress up in the orchards of Great Dixter - and had come as storybook soldiers. The show had opened with a wonderful line up of wallpaper style trench coats panelled with rosebud silk jacquards. Denim, military green, deep red and fuchsia enriched the collection - whilst apricot, ivory, tint pink and silver provided flower bed prettiness. Fifties lingerie detailing and full skirts reminded one of how Christian Dior's New Look had been inspired by the Lily of the Valley flower. (He didn't just believe that women were as beautiful as flowers, he believed women were flowers!)
McQueen-style tartans and picnic blanket plaids were combined with near Munster style tailoring where panels were stitched in vertical components The wet hair dripped in a gothic style - and was 'rain drenched' from the garden. Detachable sleeves tapped into the two for one trend at the moment - and the fact that the house of Great Dixter was called 'Great' because it was actually made up of two houses. Not any old extension, the original 15th century house was joined by another 16th century house relocated from Kent!