Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton gave Paris Fashion Week attendees something to buzz home about. Bees, butterflies, honeycombs, and wildflowers flitted down the runway in a pollen-induced haze of corsets and crinoline—a nod, perhaps, to the unsung heroes behind the scenes. “I don’t know what started it,” Burton told Vogue backstage before the show. “Maybe female worker bees, like all of us in the studio.” The look balanced McQueen maximalism with dominatrix-like precision: iridescent brocade jackets with nipped-in wasp waists, organza-and-tulle ball gowns bearing appliqué flowers in suspension, bondage-style harnesses made from caramel-colored tortoiseshell resin.
“Theirs is a matriarchal society where females rule,” Burton said of her muse. “We looked at erotica, at the Vargas girls, cages, corsets and crinolines. It’s about sensuality and skin, but not about nudity.”
An oversized projection of swarming drones, shot by filmmaker John Maybury, served as a lively backdrop.
All those disparate elements made for a dizzying sight. An oversized projection of swarming drones, shot by English filmmaker John Maybury, served as a lively backdrop. Hexagons wove in and out of gold-on-black jacquards. Cylindrical mesh headpieces in laser-cut patent leather, inspired by beekeepers’ hats, topped each model. Clusters of gold and silver bees adorned every surface, from gilded chokers to spun-sugar crystal netting.
Sweeter than honey, yes, but with enough of a sting to keep things interesting.