A sense of community is what was felt at the McQueen show in Paris earlier this week, with a trip to the Isle of Ireland evident throughout the collection; with inspiration from the flowers, some 300 year-old techniques and traditionally hand crafted Irish Linen – this collection was sure to cause a scene. Northern Ireland was once the heart for all manufacturing of the world’s finest linen. Irish linen is a beautifully hand spun yarn which is created in Ireland from 100% flax fibres, it is a strong and durable fabric that is of high quality yet it is as soft as silk. Sarah Burton wanted to slow down the entire designing phase and take time to explore the process of this collection, and truly showcase the story behind it all; from the acres of endangered flowers basking over the infamous landscapes to the joyous shades of blue of the flax seed plant in which produces the linen.
The hottest topic within the fashion industry during 2019 has been sustainability, particularly Fast Fashion. However in this collection we are shown by Sarah Burton that Fast Fashion is no longer, Burton took her team to Ireland where the spent their time researching the historic fashion culture and industrial techniques that have kept with timeless traditions. The team of Alexander McQueen worked together and sketched the flora which was then transferred over to be embroidered onto Guipure lace as well as a tailored suit for the SS20 collection. The team worked together on looms to convert a life drawing onto the fabric. Working together as a team played a huge role for Burton in this collection, she wanted to use the embroidery work as a way of slowing down time and getting the team to appreciate their work and overall get that sense of community as they work together, which was evident on the Catwalk.
The first design to grace the Catwalk this season in Paris was a puffed sleeve moon bleached, Irish linen dress which was a reworking of a shape from the 2002 autumn collection from Eshu Alexander McQueen. It wasn’t just Burton for McQueen who joined several other high street designer labels in relation to this ‘throwaway’ notion we as consumers have created; another designer label Chloé, has also challenged this idea of ‘Fast Fashion’ and how easily it can be disposed of and replaced by the constant changes in trends.
Sarah Burton brought out the entire team to take part in the final bow to revel in the astonishing applause for their work together; this completely denounced the stereotypical ego by showing that it does take an entire army to produce and create the collection they had done on Monday evening. This entire collection for me really reflected on the importance of appreciating the time spent on our clothes and to reconsider how conscious we are when it comes to buying; it made the public take into consideration the problems facing the fashion industry today and how we can resolve them before it goes too far.
In recent years many have speculated that Sarah Burton has somewhat changed the purpose of what Alexander McQueen were originally about. It is believed that the essence of reflection and commemoration of Alexander McQueen has been lost since his death in 2010. Although many fashion influencer’s love the new collections from the creative director for the label, many still think upon the original designs of Mr McQueen himself as a true artist and one of kind and have since felt his death as a tragic loss to the industry. In contrast, Burton has demonstrated and reflected on the importance of sustainability and the use of timeless and classic materials and techniques in order to reinvent the industry to be environmentally friendly. Paris fashion week was again an exceptional tool to reinforce the importance of environmental change. We need to understand that this sort of practice is not sustainable for the future generations.
By Alex McCluskey