The wild and magical coastal landscape of the Shetland Islands was the origin of this collection. Their natural beauty has inspired local artisans who have passed their skills down through generations of women for centuries. In particular, gossamer fine Shetland Lace, worn by crofters’ daughters and royalty alike, woven with indigenous flora and fauna – wild heather, clover, poppies and roses; sea birds and underwater creatures both real and mythical – is re-imagined. The colourful interiors of solitary, deserted houses, faded over time and glimpsed through windows, fishing huts, sea walls, shipwrecks, lost treasure, Celtic paisley and the stoles and shawls sported by Scottish nobility are also referenced. Hand-sewn, patched Taatit rugs, traditionally given as wedding gifts, form the backbone of the story. When families are joined in wedlock, two of these are sewn together to become one precious symbol of unity and love.
Softly tiered, narrow Shetland inspired lace dresses with delicately frayed edges are entwined with Tree of Life, ocean waves, spider webs, peerie flowers and cockle shell designs and worn with intricately worked leather harnesses edged with rows of jingling bells. More are panelled, both oversized and worn close to the body, constructed out of patches of richly-coloured Fairisle knit. The Fairisle knit is deconstructed further, pieced and patched with hand crochet or enhanced even more with tiny metal rings intertwined within. Fine leather jackets are pieced and embellished with dishevelled ship wreck rose embroidery. Voluminous light dresses in handkerchief weight cotton voile are printed with bright blue thistle buds or delicately trailing florals gathered to the torso with fine leather harnesses. The floral designs behind the embroidered leather, chain stitched leather and beaded lace panels are inspired by Sarah’s collection of antique fabrics, pieced together to form cutaway leather frock coats and corsets or jeans. This process is a nod to the island’s spirit of community and kinship. Celtic checks, originally worn by resident clans come in the form of sharp tailoring with wild rose and thistle threadwork and black jet leaf embroidery lending a proud, graphic and masculine edge. True to the Savile Row tradition that lies at the heart of the house of Alexander McQueen, strong-shouldered jackets, kilts and kickback trousers are slashed and paneled with lace. A series of languid ankle length dresses in skeletal tulle are embroidered with motifs of Scottish wild flowers. They are also engineered in a Celtic paisley and feature a fitted sleeve with puffed shoulders. A tangle of fishnet knits and embroideries constructed from strings of jet are draped into a tunic top and corseted dress with unraveling fringing. The collection becomes increasingly elaborate, culminating in a sequence of romantic tulle dresses etched with sea creatures in black beaded embroidery. The finale looks are a pair of shredded tulle dresses with cascading strings of jet beading, depicting a shipwreck scene of crashing waves in silver sequins, engulfed by the call of the sea.
Shetland inspired lace, Celtic worsted wool plaids, finely printed cotton voile, silk wool tuxedo, silk velvet jacquard, voile organza, distressed silk tulle, Fairisle inspired knit, silk knits, leather.
A palette inspired by the colours of wild flowers and the Shetland coastline – Clover, Sea Pink, Heather and Lichen, Ivory, Madder Blue, Mariner, Peat Black and Shetland Red.
Celtic inspired precious metal choker, stacked jeweled cuff and hand jewellery and a duo of jewelled earrings in antique silver or gold are adorned with crystals and metal ball decorations with folkloric floral engraving. Bell charm necklace featuring an assortment of gold and silver cowbell pendants. A kilt pin fastened with a jewelled charm is paired with a baroque buckle belt. Both are embellished with cut glass stones.
An orangery in the grounds of the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. The catwalk, evocative of the Shetlands, is designed like an island, covered with a patchwork of woven rugs depicting personal memories of its distinctive landscape. They are an ode to the islands unique artisanal craft.
In the Philippines, Alexander McQueen is located at Shangri-La Plaza East Wing and Rustan’s Makati. Follow @ssilifeph on Instagram for more information.