Thursday, July 1, 2010

Turn the page...

Alexander McQueen

Sometimes I kind of get the feeling that when a new designer is chosen to replace someone there's almost a desire for that new designer to fail, and a need to pick out their every flaw. My guess is it's a resistance towards change. I completely understand that, even if I've only ever experienced that once. But I think it's safe to say that Sarah Burton, the woman chosen from within the company to take the reigns after Alexander McQueen's death this past winter, has garnered quite the opposite response. When the news broke that she would take over as Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, people seemed positive about the decision. It's as though people don't just want her to succeed, but need her to. Let's face it, there is no one who can truly replace McQueen, but with his untimely passing leaving a gaping hole within the ranks of international fashion designers I get the feeling that people just want to see his name live on. That's where Burton comes in. Honestly I think that the position she's in seems more daunting than having a public hoping you'll fail. If expectations start out high and you don't meet them, it's all the more disappointing for everyone who was rooting for you. I wasn't going to judge Burton based on her first menswear outing shown earlier this month, and even now with the debut of the very first women's collection overseen by her for Resort 2011, I'm still not ready to completely judge whether or not she can shoulder McQueen's immense legacy. Ultimately her collection for Spring Summer 2011 will be the moment to judge her on. But I will say this, the collection of clothes that she showed is, in my not so humble opinion, a very promising start to a new chapter in the history of McQueen.




I guess nobody should be surprised by how "McQueen" this collection is. After all, Burton was his right hand for many years. Without being told that these photos are of a McQueen collection, I would have absolutely no doubt that they are. But this doesn't look like a case of one designer trying to emulate their predecessor, and it's not some caricatured version of "Alexander McQueen". Instead this looks like the work of somebody who was so in tune with the person she took over from that the change is seamless. You can see traces of something new in the hints of softness and the less aggressive spirit, but those hints of something different seem completely natural. There's nothing jarring about them at all. My biggest concern when is was announced that the label would survive beyond it's namesake was that the person chosen to replace McQueen would try too hard to follow in his footsteps and would end up designing on auto-pilot as a result. As much as seeing clothes that could have been designed by McQueen himself might appease some people, to me there would be something kind of soulless about simply trying to replicate another designer's personality. I doubt if anyone could question Burton's understanding of the McQueen DNA, after all she contributed to it, but I'm happy to know that she seems to have her own voice as well. It also doesn't hurt that she seems entirely capable of creating breathtaking clothes without the leadership of McQueen himself. I'll still wait to see her runway debut in the fall to decide whether or not she is the true heir to McQueen, but for now it seems like the label is in very capable hands.


all images from style.com

2 comments:

LOla said...

A very very very good debut collection like a certain Phoebe Philo one year ago!
It's very "Mc Queen" but with a certain twist...
Even if i don't like some shapes i think that it's a very woman-friendly Collection..with icredible Cuts and Amazing Gowns...i love the colors....
There's something quite different from Mc Queen but we'll see that in October!!

Welcome SARAH.....

Sydney said...

She did a great job. She knew how to take McQueen's vision and turn it into something more accessible, but still with the McQueen look and feel. I'm confident in her abilities to keep things running.