Amongst the many craft references woven into Sarah Burton's A/W 20 collection for Alexander McQueen was a unique strand of textile history: quilt-making. Two key looks from the collection were inspired by an allegorical tailors’ quilt kept at St Fagans National Museum of History, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.
Hand-stitched over ten years from 1842, it was made by master tailor James Williams and comprises over 4500 patches. Welsh tailors’ quilts were made out of salvaged flannel taken from mill sample books, suits and military uniforms. The quilts provide a record of both the materials and social history of the time in which they were made.
Below we see a tailors’ quilt strong-shouldered single-breasted jacket and straight-legged trousers in black, grey, lilac and ivory, upcycled from inhouse stock of British worsted wools and military flannels from past seasons. Figurative motifs of doves, a panther, a horse and a leek are hand-embroidered into a patchwork design.
Next, a tailors’ quilt single-breasted coat with a swallow tail constructed in an embroidered patchwork of red, damson, ivory, grey, and black, upcycled from inhouse stock of British worsted wools and military flannels from past seasons.
Sarah Burton said of the collection that it 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.'