Unenviably tasked with succeeding a designer as provocative, stimulating, and beloved as Alexander “Lee” McQueen, Sarah Burton tackled the spring collection with a quiet ferocity. Her debut as creative director was exceptional not for a rigid adherence to McQueen-ian tropes, but for the ways in which she pushed the aesthetic forward. His right-hand woman for 15 years, Burton was finely attuned to the nuances and complexities underlying McQueen’s vision. But in lieu of replicating that vision, Burton softened its rougher, masculine edges, imbuing the collection with an earthy lightness.
Renewal was in the air, signified by more than just the tiny tufts of grass poking through the stage’s stark floorboards. The first models appeared in white tailcoats with unfinished edges, conjuring a clean slate. Progressively, however, Mother Nature took hold, enveloping the models in dresses crocheted with flowers or downy lavender feathers. A cropped leather jacket and bumster pants fashioned entirely from black leather in the shapes of leaves appeared, as did a woven straw gown, its cornhusk-tipped bodice coupled with a floor-length skirt made of pheasant plumes. Most striking, perhaps, was a short, molded dress with a collar made to look like a flurry of monarch butterflies—both a fitting ode to McQueen and a beautiful symbol of rebirth.