Last February I worked on the Autumn/Winter ’17 collection for Alexander McQueen, developing textiles and embroideries. The great environment and creative designers with different backgrounds, nationalities and skills make the studio space a very welcome and inspiring place to work.
Like every beginning of a collection lots of exciting research including medieval imagery, photographic research of the British seaside, images of landscapes and piles of crafted pieces and materials were put together on boards, waiting there to come together and tell a new story through the collection to come.
Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton, who regularly draws on British heritage, ancient traditions and craft, took her team to the Shetlands Isles for inspiration this season. They also stopped in Cornwall and got inspired by the light, big blue skies, the pagan landscapes and traditional crafts of the locals, before stumbling across the spiritual “Cloutie” Trees. A place of pilgrimage, their branches are ornamented with bright and colourful ribbons and treasures, which represent the hopes and wishes of those who tied them on the tree flying in the wind. That inspiration translated into a collection of dresses with long colourful trailing strings of undone thread and raw edges that were coming from each embroidered patch. Another series of silk dresses engineered and printed in cross-stitch squares with lace borders and a richly worked jacquard with panels of medieval flowers and decorative damasks, defined by red feather stitching, explores the idea of piece and patched work
The collection included a series of leather dresses and coats featuring V-stitches at the seams in black, red and white that took inspiration on medieval needlework samplers from XVI and XVII Century. In the textiles team, rich tapestry dresses were patched together and ornamented in embroideries depicting meadow flowers, wild strawberries, herbs, deer and hare, birds… all left undone and with a riot of colourful fringes. My favourite pieces were a series of gowns made of silk tulle that were encrusted with black and silver beads and metal charms, with cuffs and hemlines finished in a feathered froth.
One of the main embroidery designs developed for the collection was inspired on a beautiful V&A Mediaeval sample, that had writing on it, and was embroidered ‘Lee was borne’, the design was developed into different tones and used on a series of dresses that had raw edges and fringes, making the pieces look unfinished.
You can find a bit more about the collection here. Where do you find your design inspiration?
Images: © Alexander McQueen
Also published on Medium.