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style + fashion

the art of getting dressed.

Alexander McQueen - FW 2011

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

Sarah Burton's second collection for Alexander McQueen was, arguably, more pressure than her first. she had to prove that her first stellar collection wasn't a fluke...that she wasn't a one hit wonder. her first fall collection was inspired by the ice queen and her court, and after a week filled with rumors of a royal McQueen wedding gown, there was a lot of attention of Burton's runway, and she delivered.

the show is full of classic, "retro" McQueen shapes... high victorian necklines, strict corset waistlines, harnesses, collared strapless dresses, and slim skirts, but this collection had an earthiness to it, regardless of how icy Burton's ice queen was. this is proving to be her trademark on the McQueen woman...adding a serene, feminine, earthy touch to the strict, subtle violence that is classic Lee McQueen.

the heavy white and grey wools and tweeds were softened by fur hemlines and trim, but then toughened again with zippered seams and leather harnesses. the shoes were insanely tall, intricate (as usual), and adorned with feathers and spikes...again marrying mother earth with subtle violence.

these wedge booties are very 'Black Swan' but oh-so-McQueen.  i'm sure that Lee is really proud, seeing these walk under his namesake.  i'd love to wear these...every day, please.

the evening wear was the high point, as it was in the spring collection.  Burton has a way with tulle and silk organza that just leaves a gal breathless, and this season she seemed to construct the dress around the movement of the fabric, making the gowns into moving, breathing works of art.  this way of folding seems to be a favorite of it was shown in the spring collection in the shoulders of the jackets..but translates flawlessly here into a voluminous skirt...

(based on this gown alone, i really hope Kate Middleton had the proper sense about her to have Burton make her wedding dress)

the bodice of this gown is like a shattered tile mosaic.  incredibly fragile, yet insanely beautiful.  the exact way i'd describe the McQueen woman.

my pièce de résistance pour McQueen...this beautiful black silk organza gown is a live version of Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven.'  it's haunting, it's mysterious, it's beautiful and complex.... watching it move down the runway was almost a spiritual experience for me.

it's safe to say that Sarah Burton has avoided the sophomoric curse.  her second collection at McQueen has surpassed her first in every way.  her vision is, undoubtedly, razor sharp and i think it's clear that she isn't trying to be Lee McQueen...what's clear is that she was part of creating Lee's vision from inception, and that she's letting her feminine edge shine through in these clothes.