Sarah Burton is looking to the healing power of nature for Alexander McQueen’s newest collection. On Tuesday, the British designer showed the fall 2021 line, featuring balloon shapes, puffed sleeves, and dramatic volume that exude the kind of beauty we’ve missed for the past 15 sweatpant-clad months.
"It feels like now is a time for healing, for breathing new life, for exploring echoes from the past to enrich our future," Burton wrote in the collection notes.
Burton incorporated anemone prints into most of the collection’s pieces with blown-up and abstract florals appearing on pink-, black-, and red-hued garments. “Anemones are the most ephemeral flowers, here made permanent in cloth,” wrote Burton. Anemones are also one of the species most impacted by climate change as extreme heat waves continue to bleach their vibrant colours. Water was another big theme of the line, resulting in layered white-and-silver off-shoulder and T-shirt dresses that resembled sea foam.
“More than ever, a sense of humanity, of the team, working together with a single aim – to make something beautiful, something meaningful – feels both precious and important,” wrote Burton.
While this collection is intended to heal, it also revealed some darker themes with punk-inspired leather and denim pieces like moto jackets, belts, and dresses, all juxtaposed with the romantic shapes that have characterized Burton’s work at Alexander McQueen.
The voluminous shapes in this collection are one of the biggest — and most dramatic — trends of this fall, signalling a departure from the skimpy silhouettes we’ve seen this spring. There are also some party pieces for the post-vaccination holiday season (a proper one, hopefully!) with flowy dresses shaped by crystal-encrusted bodices and an asymmetrical T-shirt dress with a bedazzled train.
Adornment is necessary in times of uncertainty, so the return of layered and oversized shapes is not surprising. Let’s play a little dress-up, shall we?