Alexander McQueen Resort 2019 Ready-To-Wear
“She sells seashells on the seashore.” The British Victorian tongue twister is supposed to have been coined about Mary Anning, the heroine of Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen Resort collection. Anning was brought up in Lyme Regis in Dorset (think French Lieutenant’s Womancountry) and became famous for the fact that at the age of 12, she discovered and identified the first known ichthyosaurus, one of the fossils that pack the crumbling cliffs above what’s now called the Jurassic Coast around Lyme’s beaches. Anning and her family made a living selling fossils to tourists and Victorian gentlemen collectors.
Never mind being a designer, the narratives Sarah Burton unearths from the million layers of British history would make a fantastic tour guide to the U.K. (the cheap dollar-pound Brexit exchange rate makes 2019 the ideal time to book your trip). But whoa up, we’re here to talk about clothes. The connection with Victorian collecting is traceable in the mother-of-pearl jewelry, the “conchologist” shell patterns inspired by etchings on tailored suits, and eventually, the configurations of extravagant ripples and ruffles, suggestive of the delicate pinks of the insides of shells.
Romance and research aside, this collection—partly shot against clifftop backgrounds—is perfectly in sync with the micro-floral covered-up print dress style that has swept fashion recently, while the Victoriana tailoring and ineffably intricate lace and baby-fine knitting central to McQueen’s appeal continue.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen