The sixteen outfits shown were 80% finished by the time of McQueen's death last month and the final touches were administered by Sarah Burton, who worked alongside McQueen for sixteen years.
Last season, McQueen embraced the digital world with live streaming and a twitter following so large it crashed its SHOWstudio.com viewing platform. Naturally, yesterday’s affair called for quiet over frenzy but McQueen’s vision for Autumn Winter had also changed direction from digital to handcrafted workmanship.
The medieval collection with an angels and demons theme featured religious scenes reproduced from the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch and Hugo van der Goes with prints of Botticelli angels woven into the cloth. Curtain folds of silk satin, embroidery and hand-painted gold feathers was closer craftmanship to the work of couture than ready-to-wear. But such detail and artistry was typical of McQueen’s work. His signature skull design was there, chillingly crushed in to the heels of an ankle boot.
ELLE Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Candy said, “It was a poignant and moving memorial. The opera that McQueen had listened to while working on the collection played out and the audience was moved to tears. It was the most feminine, womanly and ethereal collection he had shown in years - very peaceful and personal to him and a fitting way to present it. It felt like goodbye”.
A note given to each of the audience read, "each piece is unique, as was he". This last collection was a triumph.