Eery music played against a backdrop of black, with futuristic lighting shedding a cold almost industrial glare onto the hard-wood stage upon which this otherworldly experience would unfold. Out steps from the shadows a tall white figure whose identity is disguised beneath the sunglasses of some mysterious wayfarer who inhabits another realm.
This chilling backdrop is presenting Sarah Burton’s intriguing interpretations of fashion and as the audience tenses and grips to their seats, eyes eagerly fixed onto the bare stage, the ambiguity of the models is forgotten; all eyes are on these enchanting concoctions.
Blink and it’s as if your eyes are seeing the same design on four occasions, it takes a a trained eye to spot the difference. Watching this spectacle, with so much expectation for the revered designer that is Sarah Burton to deliver, I felt disappointed. It was as if the night was going to be white and futuristic with a cold and seemingly harsh alien feel.
Then Black stalked elegantly onto the runway, a hue that is staple in every designer’s winter collection. The shade (fifty shades of black…?) was stark and contrasting, although it seems, Ms. Burton desired to gently manoevre our eyes to the contrast by presenting a few concoctions of a monochrome lace design first. What now adds to the cold and eery atmosphere is that it seems this seemingly innocent fabric could indeed be PVC.
Something that I feel buyers from the high street may take interest in, is this “shaggy effect”. Burton’s version is exaggerated and amplified, something however that could easily translate to the classic winter but now “shaggy” knit.
Look 21 and an ephiany occurs. It is now clear that Ms. Burton is drawing inspiration from maritime activities ( a trend that never truly manifested itself this summer). An ethereal mermaid/ballerina covered in crustaceans marches like an alien down the runway. The first truly wearable (if you have someplace to wear it..) look strides down the catwalk and I imagine mouths gaped at this moment as Sarah Burton’s appeal slowly became evident.
The saying “save the best for last” was clearly Burton’s philosophy as a beautiful berry red creation flushed the cheeks of onlookers dissolving the coolness that had pervaded the alien atmosphere. In each design there was a hint of baroque, upon closer inspection a slightly distorted geranium design was visible.
The maritime theme continued with oyster inspired concoctions bouncing vibrantly in vermillion red, as most or all of the models strutted in their heel-less platforms.
All in all, it was an interesting array of flouncy frocks and futuristic eclectic designs. One must praise Burton for a fascinating show, despite a futuristic vibe that some may interpret as cool. I however interpret is as haunting.