The female power suit is in full effect this fashion season. From Stella McCartney’s deconstructed suit to Cushnie et Och’s tailored suit to Tom Ford’s animal-print ensemble, the all-business (and some pleasure) suit is in. Sarah Burton is the latest designer to bring expertly-tailored suits to the runway this season, with wide lapels and a crimson silk stripe running down the pants leg.
Burton explained the AW18 collection was inspired by “extreme nature, metamorphosis and a soft armor for women.” Somewhat similar to Valentino’s exploration of femininity via romantic strength, Burton’s collection also paid tribute to the magical and mystical side of feminine energy. “McQueen has always been about powerful women, it has to be about empowering women,” she said backstage.
The concept of cocoon and butterfly was illustrated in this collection, with Binx Walton’s opening look of a cocoon-like tailcoat being shed. There were also some unexpected fetish touches, like long braids (“I always think it’s a bit fetish-y when a woman has her hair this long,” Vogue overheard from hairdresser Guido Palau) and onyx leather bustiers.
The metamorphosis was complete, with the careful tailoring and sharp black suit at the show’s beginning graduating to a butterfly-like arrangement of gauzy silks and giant, pink tufts and swirls of fabric. Burton described her collection as the “forces of femininity” and this season. This is true not just for McQueen, but for so many designers summoning the many whorls and complexities of being a woman and channeling it via well-tailored suits and gowns that look like small monuments.