It's tantalizing to think that Lee McQueen identified with Robinson Crusoe. A lost soul stranded in nature, barbarism lurking in the shadows…it already sounds like the genesis of a McQueen collection. No wonder he returned to the idea of the castaway a few times in his career. With today's menswear show, Sarah Burton also tapped into the notion. In a castaway corner of industrial London—under the derelict railway arches of King's Cross—she staged another of her richly layered fashion dramas. Burton has shown herself a great lover of ceremony. "Male rites of passage" was today's keynote. The first looks transmuted the scalloped lace of a christening gown. The last, severely monochromatic, felt like clerics come to administer last rites. And the passage between the two extremes left the McQueen man looking a little shipwrecked by life.

Fabrics were bleached, faded as though they'd been left in the sun. Frayed jacquards, worn brocades, and tarnished buttons also suggested some environmental distress. Some of the clothes had a slightly improvised feel: a coat lining, say, worn as a silk robe, or exaggerated versions of Edwardian underthings worn as outerwear. There was a hint of DIY ingenuity in the black roses embroidered in a cotton ticking jacket (one way to turn something prosaic into something precious for someone who is stranded without much). The interplay of unhinged and aristocratic suggested a scenario in which the Lord of the Flies was in the process of taking over Brideshead. And, if the haunted boniness of the young men parading backwards and forwards on the cobblestones under the arches was any indication, the process might almost be complete.