Sarah Burton's Alexander McQueen collection sets Paris abuzz

Royal wedding dress designer's honeycomb-inspired outfits prove she's queen bee of the Paris catwalk

Sarah Burton is in a sweet spot. The fashion house at which she succeeded the late Alexander McQueen is riding a wave of commercial success, powered by last year's royal wedding dress. Meanwhile her catwalk collections, which were good right from the start, get better with each passing season.

Her Paris fashion week collection for Alexander McQueen was a knockout not only by her standards, but by those set by McQueen himself. Burton's McQueen is a different place from that which she inherited: she has clipped some of the thorns, and let the sunlight in.

Female empowerment, control, secrecy, precision of form, sex and nature are codes are at the heart of the McQueen brand, and this season Burton hit upon the perfect plot device to tell her story.

The queen bee and her hive were the starting points for a collection which was, as is right and proper at McQueen, tempting as honey but with a deadly sting. Organza and lace suits were embroidered with hexagons and honey bees; cocktail dresses in nectar-sweet colours were dotted with appliqué flowers caught between their silk layers.

Beekeeper hats in laser-cut patent leather and crystal wedge heels packed honeycomb-tight with amber crystals bookended looks of perfect symmetry. By the time Burton took her bow, to the tune of the Archies' Sugar Sugar, the designer had made one thing very clear: duchesses are terrifically useful publicity, but this label needs no other queen bee.


Jess Cartner-Morley

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Paris fashion week: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Valentino - in pictures

Alexander McQueen's successor set Paris abuzz with her bee-inspired collection, while Chanel wowed, yet again, with restrained elegance and colourful boucle at the Grand Palais, and Valentino went for power with print and patterns during day eight of the spring/summer 2013 collections

Guardian fashion

02, Oct, 2012 @4:29 PM

Article image
Sarah Burton brings ceremonial splendour to Alexander McQueen
Collection based on ecclesiastical wear, with ornate ruffs and cartridge-pleated skirts redolent of pomp and ceremony

Jess Cartner-Morley

05, Mar, 2013 @9:21 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen collection shocks Paris fashion week with extreme beauty

Creative director Sarah Burton casts aside the serenity of royal wedding dresses in favour of fetish-inspired fashion-as-theatre

Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris

04, Oct, 2011 @11:44 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen at Paris fashion week - in pictures

The Observer's Jo Jones and Helen Seamons access all areas as Sarah Burton unveils a visually arresting show for Alexander McQueen

05, Oct, 2011 @12:25 PM

Article image
Video | Paris Fashion Week: Alexander McQueen

Late designer's protege Sarah Burton steals the show in Paris

06, Oct, 2010 @7:37 AM

Article image
Alexander McQueen protege Sarah Burton steals the show in Paris

Sarah Burton's womanswear designs stay true to the McQueen style, but add a softer, more feminine element

Imogen Fox, deputy fashion editor, in Paris

05, Oct, 2010 @8:22 PM

Article image
Highlights from Chanel, McQueen, Louis Vuitton and Valentino

Simon Chilvers: Sarah Burton wowed the crowd with her Alexander McQueen collection, Chanel opted for an underwater theme and Valentino stuck to modern classic

Guardian Fashion

06, Oct, 2011 @9:54 AM

Article image
Paris fashion week: Alexander McQueen collection is Burton's best yet
Seductive and feminine, organic and naturalistic: dandelion heads were delicately embroidered onto evening dresses

Jess Cartner-Morley

06, Mar, 2012 @11:36 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen comes home to London with first ever McQ show
Sarah Burton's theatrical collection elevates diffusion label previously associated with street style to high fashion

Imogen Fox

21, Feb, 2012 @12:11 AM

Article image
Gallery: Alexander McQueen protege shows off label's new collection – without the angst and drama

Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen, shows off her first womenswear collection in one of Paris fashion week's most anticipated debuts

05, Oct, 2010 @11:47 PM