Sarah Burton debuted her first women’s ready to wear collection in Paris yesterday. I held my breath as I looked at the thumbnails of the show. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting or feeling. I certainly could empathize with Burton and the mammoth weight of expectation, anticipation, responsibility and legacy that rested precariously on her shoulders.
I was happy when Burton was chosen as Lee’s successor – it was the right choice for Alexander McQueen, the entity, to make.
Burton had, of course, completed McQueen’s last collection and has already shown a men’s collection, earlier this year. The FW10 collection was breathtaking, but I saw so much of Lee in it – it was the last thing he was working on prior to his death. It literally brought me to tears.
This would be completely Burton’s work and so, I held my breath.
As I flipped through each picture, each detail, all I could see was that which was repeated from past collections and that which was missing – primarily, Lee.
My view, admittedly so, is unfair to a talent like Burton – but I, like millions, adored Lee as an artist. How could there be another Dylan, another Strummer, another Pollock, another Dali?
Today, when I was looking at the images again…
I heard another voice…
“And in the woods was a soldier’s tomb
The ghost of which looked over you
And God was there amongst the trees
We felt his whisper in the summer’s breeze
And every night and every day
I learned to love it in a special way
As I remember – what it’s like to walk amongst butterflies”
- Amongst Butterflies by Paul Weller
Thank you, Ms. Burton for bearing that weight and for giving us butterflies.
Over time, perhaps I will learn to love and see your work in a special way, indeed.
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