The Legacy of Lee McQueen lives on
When the shocking news of Lee McQueen’s tragic and premature death was announced, the fashion world was in pandemonium questioning the daunting task of replacing such a genius. Some even speculated on the imminent demise of the Alexander McQueen label. Who can replace such a formidable and creative mind? First and foremost, let’s get one thing cleared up; no one will ever be able to replace Lee McQueen’s brilliant creations, masterful staging and applauded collections. Demanding to replace such iconic shoes is a set-up for failure. It happened at Gucci after the departure of Tom Ford and is presently happening with Dior after the Galliano exit. The Fashion world has this uncanny thirst for blood so it seems and giving a chance for replacing designers in implementing their own ideas and vision seems intolerable.
Sarah Burton was mandated to fill such big shoes at the Alexander McQueen label by producing something relevant, fresh, McQueen-ish but without being a copy. Such a disconcerting task, especially since she was by McQueen’s side for more than 14 years. It was a recipe for disaster.
However, this is not the case. Sarah Burton has delivered amazingly strong collections since taking over the vacant role by keeping the McQueen spirit alive while injecting her own sense of drama and skilful workmanship for the entire world to see. Her critically acclaimed collections (with reason) have only gotten better and better.
The ready-to-wear womenswear Spring 2012 collection which was presented last week in Paris was a continuation of what she has established since her first collection; dramatic clothing with a feminine sensibility.
Her play with volumes and textures are genius while her aesthetic is clear and vigorous. Her couture-like finesse is wonderfully beautiful. Her use of the label’s history and legacy is present yet made her own. The future and faith of the McQueen label and its legacy, which seemed so dark and uncertain a few seasons ago, appears to be in good hands with Sarah Burton. She did learn from the best!