Metamorphosis: the magical transformation of femininity. Extreme nature: the delicate, emergent beauty of butterflies and moths; the opalescent shine of softly-armoured Scarab beetles. Hybrids: the morphing of one creature into another, one garment into another. A hyper-real world is magnified and populated by a sensual and powerful muse. A verdant future, a sense of pride, joy and optimism prevails. A Utopian evolution, paradise found.
Heritage McQueen tailoring – a strong shoulder, narrow waist and exaggerated hip – forms the backbone of this collection, juxtaposed with fragile, feminine languor: fringes, drapes and curves. Black wool silk jackets are deconstructed, lined with panels of intense red duchesse, draped at the hem with lace or with butterfly printed silks and trailing threads. Wide tuxedo trousers in satin fall to the floor. Bonded leather dresses are raw cut and draped. More butterflies unfold across shredded velvet fil coupé jacquards – their fragile wings are engineered to wrap perfectly around the bold silhouette of a coat. The colours and markings of the Glasswing are ethereal: eau de nil, bone. Vibrant by contrast are mirrored, kaleidoscopic Painted Lady butterfly prints, splashed with colour and suggestive of flight. Pink Morpho butterflies shimmer on translucent jersey dresses harnessed to the torso with supple leather corsetry.
Boldly striped shirt-dresses are pieced and patched. A military influence is seen in handsome great coats, capes and horse blankets in soft cashmere edged with lust red jacquard stripes. The overblown line and padded volume of quilted down leather jackets – zipped at the waist and in nuanced shades of field and bottle green or bone – mimic silk butterfly cocoons. Roll necks are ribbed, slashed and laddered, held together with metal eyelets and lacing. An exploded scale Scarab beetle coat is woven in velvet and silk yarn and cinched with a black leather corset belt. Dappled scarf dresses feature erotic cut outs and elongated, fringed, open cuffs. Three-dimensional Goliath beetles, are hand-embroidered onto tulle with black and ivory sequins, facetted glass beads and French cup sequins. A magnified beetle print appears across asymmetric silk satin dresses. A square shouldered trench in black gabardine is spliced with Tiger Wing scarf silks. Oversized butterfly wings are created using appliquéd patches of hand-dyed creponne, satin stitch, tufting and long fringes of silken thread. A double-breasted tuxedo jacket with a soft satin corset echoes the form of a chrysalis and is tied with an oversized red silk bow evocative of the tremulous wings of a butterfly. Floating butterfly gowns in flamingo pink and black silk nylon cloqué dégradé jacquard are dip-dyed by hand and have fringed, voluminous, feather-light trains.
[Photo Credit: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen]