At Paris Fashion Week, Alexander McQueen Takes Flight

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Alexander McQueen

Sarah Burton floats like a butterfly.

It’s clear we are in the middle of a major culture shift as far as feminine power goes. At Alexander McQueen, designer Sarah Burton leaned in to the theme with a collection based on what she called the "transformation of femininity."

She subverted the tropes here, not relying on overt sexuality (hello, Red Sparrow). Instead, her beautiful birds were ready to take flight in the form of beaded coats that resembled feathers and back bows that looked like the spreading of wings. Fringed dresses had blown up patterns of beetles and butterfly wings that gently swooshed down the runway with mottled movement. Dresses with sharp shoulders had soft sleeves, with long fringe hanging past the fingers. It was a stunning sight to behold.

Less fanciful looks were buttoned up with an edge, or cinched with a corset belt. Beaded gowns were embroidered with bugs and beetles, and the few sexy bustiers she showed were shiny and hard-shelled.

Most looks were featured with a tight, square-toed ankle boot that gave a jolt of masculinity to dresses; the few heels had silver bands around the ankle that resembled the handbag grips, thick and functional.

Burton also gifted each guest with a large wool fisherman’s sweater that was laid on each chair with names embroidered on tags inside, just like your mom used to do when you went off to camp.

But as there was nothing seafaring about the collection, it seemed a bit of a mystery as to what one had to do with the other (except make editors squeal with delight and take hundreds of snaps for Instagram). Nevertheless, the cozy cocoons seemed ideal protective little places in which to hide out until spring.