If you're only going to send 10 looks down the runway, as Sarah Burton did for Alexander McQueen's Fall 2013 show, those looks had better be something spectacular. And by fusing the intensely intricate decoration of Queen Elizabeth's wardrobe with religious references and a hint of the Ballets Russes, Burton turned out some truly stunning works whose beauty defies everything that is current and conventional.
The first looks to appear could almost have been worn by the Virgin Queen herself: white dresses with box-pleated crinolines and lace skirts. Then came pearl-studded black suits and gowns, followed by white dresses with gold corsets. The final looks, spun from ostrich feathers, brought another level of opulence to the richly layered collection.
If piling on decorations and embellishments is Burton's response to other designers cutting simpler clothing, it makes for an interesting commentary. But the clothes would be just as beautiful if all she wanted to do was have a conversation about history and true splendor.