Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen, is quite the busy woman. In the past two and a half years, ever since the death of one of fashion’s most brilliant designers, Sarah Burton has been working hard. She has debuted consistent collections that have adhered to the aesthetic created by Lee McQueen, designed a highly lauded wedding dress for none other than the Duchess of Cambridge, and decided to open up a store on Savile Row, where McQueen first worked as an apprentice in a high-end tailor shop. And on top of her hectic work life, Burton is now pregnant and due in February.
Burton’s busy life style, her role as a true artist and hard worker in the fashion business, and her upcoming role as a mother seem to all converge in her newest collection, the Spring/Summer 2013 show, which debuted in Paris last week. The show, quite literally, was inspired by bees. Busy, buzzing bees battling it out to become the last Queen Bee standing. Of her collection, Burton reported to Vogue, “I don’t know what started it. Maybe female worker bees, like all of us in the studio.” Worker bees may have been Burton’s initial inspiration, but her final collection showcased Queen Bees, not worker bees. Gold jacquard suits influenced by Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, honeycomb tailored pants, and corset dresses showcased Burton’s expert tailoring skills. However, this collection illustrated more than Burton’s skill, it captured the creative spirit that seems to have finally moved her out of her predecessor’s shadow.
The hourglass structure of her dresses and the bustier tops evoke a feminine sensuality for which Burton is becoming known. Her color palette of black, gold, yellow, and white becomes more sensualized with the bright red that pops throughout her collection. Burton’s dresses also feature some daring necklines, like the exposed bustier under a swath of red and the plunging, navel-exposing neckline featured on another one of her printed red dresses. However, Burton always tempers this sensuality with a delicate femininity and an avant-garde aesthetic. For instance, all her models wear “bee-keeper” hats that obscure their faces but allow viewers to focus on the garments.
Burton’s breathtaking collection evolves from structured jackets and pants to the full-on whimsy of blooming dresses. Three dresses covered in yellow, red, and white flowers close Burton’s show. Although the avant-garde style of Alexander McQueen may be hard to replicate, Burton’s aesthetic can be easily copied. Mix edgy, more structured pieces with whimsical, flowing fabrics. Don’t be afraid to experiment with sexier necklines that push the limits but remain feminine. And lastly, try to incorporate a bright shade of red into your wardrobe—it can be as small as a cherry-red scarf or as extravagant as a scarlet ballroom gown.