Sarah Burton has always had an affinity for nature, and for tuning into history. Whilst she worked for Alexander Lee McQueen—he took her on as his first and only assistant when she was a Central Saint Martins textiles student—she grew into his trusted researcher and a fanatical archivist of all his work. As soon as she stepped up to replace him, her own interest in celebrating the mysterious powers of nature has been behind much of her work. Her creative breakthrough has come now she has decided to get out in the open air of landscapes and communities in far-flung corners of Britain. “I felt this sense of groundedness, of needing to feel the land, and tradition,” she said.
This season, she took her team to Cornwall, the southernmost county of the United Kingdom. It’s a landscape which inspired the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, and has ancient stone circles, medieval churches and—if you look hard enough—a surviving subculture of paganism and healing witchcraft.
Discovering a Cloutie tree, on which people tie rags and ribbons as wishes and mementoes, triggered the beginning of the collection. Back in London, where Burton works in seclusion with the couture-level team which made Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, imagination took flight. Evolving ideas with the incredible hand-embroidery and textiles teams, they wove ideas from the memento ribbons into tweeds, and thought about self-determining women, women who sewed messages into samplers centuries ago.
PARIS, MARCH 6, 2017
by SARAH MOWER – Vogue