CR Exclusive: Behind the Making of Alexander McQueen’s One-of-a-Kind Flowers

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Floral motifs were woven throughout Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection, from garden-inspired dresses to embroidered separates. As a nod to the fashion house’s love of nature–McQueen himself used natural elements like razor clam shells and duck feathers in his designs–Creative Director Sarah Burton and the design team spent hours researching endangered and extinct flowers to bring into the collection. Several ensembles, two Irish linen dresses and a cocoon jacket set, were particularly painstaking to produce as their flora were completely hand-embroidered. Following the collection’s debut at Paris Fashion week last September, the fashion house is now giving CR an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how it skillfully emulated these blooms.

Before a pattern was even made for the garments, the McQueen team went to see some rare flowers firsthand, sketching within a lush greenhouse. After this, the various floral artworks were rendered at the studio to fit a specific design. Each detail was carefully considered, from color-matching the thread to the flowers’ paintings to delving into the maison’s archives to find embroidery techniques that could bring the blooms to life–all of the flowers were hand-embroidered using different thread techniques to emulate the painterly quality of the illustrations. The placement of each blossom was then thoughtfully determined before the embroidery could begin. After being digitally applied to the perfectly tailored patterns, an artisan embroiderer deftly sewed each flower for a couture-level finish.

Embodying the one-of-a-kind femininity the house of McQueen is known for, the endangered flowers were a vivid display on the runway. Alongside an abundance of leather and lace, the floral embroidery added a touch of raw beauty to the collection.

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