As the S/S 21 womenswear season comes to a close, highly anticipated moments from the January-February A/W 20 shows are finally trickling into stores. Alexander McQueen's creative director Sarah Burton made poetic odes to craftsmanship, strength and fragility, notably so in the patchwork details of womenswear, and a Henry Moore Foundation collaboration for menswear.
This month, McQueen have launched their new variation of the highly covetable Tall Story bag, which was unveiled on the womenswear runway in Paris. Modelled by Nora Attal, this season the bag was inspired by Attal's asymmetric coat, cut in black, red and damson leather. The Tall Story bag is made from a rich, black calf leather, and is detailed with contrasting red trims and brass-finished metal handles.
The zig-zag patchwork effect worked into these leather items, was continued to even greater effect via tailoring and knitwear. A trip to Wales saw Burton drawn to quilting and patchwork techniques, and largely inspired by the 19th century Wrexham Tailor's Quilt, the womenswear collection's techniques were imbued with themes of history and heritage, both familiar and essential to the McQueen brand. Also released this month is more signature McQueen sharp tailoring, which for A/W 20 sees Prince of Wales check suiting criss-crossed with black wool silk. Then comes knitwear: two Argyle intarsia rib-knits, spliced and patched into one. Cinched at the waist with belts in true Burton style, the knits were styled on the runway with leather red and black skin tight boots. The collection as a whole presented a sense of protection together with a hard edged heroism, things we could all benefit from in our wardrobes to give us a lift in these uncertain times. The campaign for the collection, photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth in rural countryside settings, sees the patchwork effect suit and the Tall Story come alive in all their glory, modelled by Sora Choi and Jill Kortleve.
'The collection is a love letter to women and to families, colleagues and friends. We went to Wales and were inspired by the warmth of its artistic and poetic heritage, by its folklore and the soul of its craft. The woman is courageous, grounded, bold: heroic. There is a sense of protection in the clothes, of safety and comfort, evoked through quilting and blankets. The hearts are a symbol of togetherness, of being there for others.' Sarah Burton
Menswear brought in a collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation. Moore's artwork Three-Quarter Figure (1928) is reproduced as a print, cut into a wool silk single-breasted jacket and trousers. The sharp lines of McQueen tailoring map out the swirling ink, chalk and watercolour burnt orange and brown markings of Moore's work.
First released in a lookbook photographed by Ethan James Green, and presented at a Milanese industrial factory, once again the soft romance and craft of the human hand, marries with something tougher, here something almost metallic feeling. This strength and fragility continues to define both the McQueen man and woman, together with an ultimate sense of craftsmanship, rooted both in tradition and modernity. Although the future may seem uncertain, this season Burton offers an alluring present.