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Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

After fourteen years assisting Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton was promoted to creative director in 2010 following her mentor’s tragic death. Burton’s first collection, exploring themes of nature, paganism, and English folklore, proved her ability to perpetuate the tradition of craftsmanship and creativity that has defined the house since its founding. With an embellished carapace of artificial butterflies, this hourglass-shaped dress relies on minimal seaming and is wholly free of boning or internal support. The hundreds of trompe l’oeil wings that veneer the textile ground are composed of meticulously cut, dyed, and painted feathers, applied by hand to emulate the distinctive pattern of the monarch butterfly. The colorful insect, a perennial motif of the house, conjures the promise of transformative renewal.

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