It is at times surprising how easily you can find correspondences between art performances/installations and fashion collections.
In a previous post we looked for example at the art of wrapping employed by Thomas De Falco and highlighted how the textile artist often starts his research by applying natural elements such as leaves on his notebooks and then embroidering his tapestries on top of these materials.
Some of the pieces in Sandra Burton's menswear S/S 18 collection for Alexander McQueen, showcased yesterday evening in the orangery at the Luxembourg gardens in Paris, seemed to move from the same principle behind De Falco's notebooks.
Apart from the trench and top coats, leather suits, broderie anglaise shirts and jumpers based on a Fair Isle sock pattern, the collection featured indeed a series of garments inspired by explorers and pioneers - such as a dramatic white leather cape and a few denim separates - with prints of leaves, orienteering maps and lines of poetry from Rudyard Kipling's The Explorer.
Long strands of red yarn seemed to sprout from the surface of these garments and they were left hanging, maybe symbolising blood rivulets, maybe hinting at the fil rouge that unites some of these designs to the womenswear S/S 17 and A/W 17 collections. While the former was indeed inspired by a trip to the Shetland Islands (an inspiration that was intergrated in this menswear collection as well), the latter featured quite a few pieces in which red thread was used as the main decorative element.
There was also another connection with the womenswear S/S 17 collection: a section of a Shetland carpet from that runway show was reversed (reversing things, Kawakubo docet, may be a trend for the S/S 18 season...) and tufted to decorate a jacket and a trench coat. Threads also returned in a multi-coloured coat and a black one, and in an ivory jacket: these pieces were indeed covered in a delicate silken fringe.
Nature reappeared in the two final pieces, with a crystal tree of life embroidered onto a jacket and topcoat, black threads hanging from the garments to symbolise the tree roots and create movement. These threads hanging loose from quite a few of these designs remain the most interesting inspiration for Burton's latest men and women's wear collections for McQueen, they indeed point at a make-do-and-mend ethos and call to mind the beauty of the non-finito – the unfinished look.