After a well-received outing at the men’s collections, Sarah Burton unveiled her first womenswear efforts at Alexander McQueen today for cruise 2011. The beautifully edited collection provided amble evidence of Burton’s expertise with the house’s codes, as well as giving a glimpse of the possible future of the brand. Mixing references, from samurai armor to Hans Bellmer’s dolls, the collection struck the perfect balance between romantic and macabre—a familiar terrain—with sharp tailoring and a couple of show-stopping gowns.
More importantly, Burton’s own spin is already becoming visible, bringing a softer edge to McQueen’s signature tailoring: a rounding of the pagoda shoulder, for instance, or a fluid Prince of Wales coat dress. Of course, in these early days it’s hard to gauge the success of such a delicate undertaking, but it’s nice to see some lightness and optimism at the end of a dark tunnel.