September 1 2014

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32 posts tagged "Sarah Burton"

Nick Waplington Talks Alexander McQueen and Working Process


Working ProcessWhen Nick Waplington began to document the making of Alexander McQueen’s fifteenth anniversary collection, the Horn of Plenty, he had no idea it would be one of the visionary’s last. A friend of the late designer, Waplington, who was living in Israel and shooting another project when McQueen approached him about the collaboration in 2007, chronicled Fall 2009′s production for six months. He watched its inception in the designer’s London studio—snapping away at model fittings and mood boards—and followed it all the way through to its now-legendary trip down a Paris runway, which was covered in heaps of spray-painted rubbish from McQueen’s previous sets. The resulting book, dubbed Alexander McQueen: Working Process, provides an intimate look at McQueen, his team (including Sarah Burton), and his methods—its pages depicting everything from moments of pain and anxiety to bursts of joy and laughter. “This project offers unprecedented insight into the mind of a notoriously private and at times willfully impenetrable man,” writes journalist Susannah Frankel, who worked closely with the designer, in the tome’s introduction. What’s more is that the book, which Waplington describes as “a historical document,” was largely edited by McQueen himself: He finished his selection before his tragic suicide in 2010. “It’s really the last thing he ever made,” Waplington said. Below, the photographer talks to about capturing the designer’s legacy, his experience inside the luminary’s studio, and what he learned of the real McQueen. For a first look at the contents of the book—which hits stores on October 31— click through our slideshow.

How did you come to work on this project in the first place?
We had known each other for some time, and he met up with me and explained that he was very worried, or interested, I should say, in his legacy. He was a very hands-on designer: He actually created the clothes himself, which I wasn’t aware of when we started. They would bring in big rolls of fabric, and he’d get up out of his chair and have a pair of scissors and pins, and minutes later, there would be this creation. He wanted people to understand this process. The book was going to be called The Process, and he thought I was the right person to bring his vision to the world, which was very nice of him. I wasn’t sure at first, and I was living in Israel at the time, so it was a lot of travel backward and forward. But luckily for me, I did it.

Did you have any inkling at the time why he was so intent on documenting his process—and preserving his legacy?
I did say to him, “Can I do this in a few years’ time?” and he said, “Absolutely not. It has to be this season.” But the season in question, the Horn of Plenty, was a season that he considered to be his retrospective of his first fifteen years. He was revisiting his old ideas, and for the show set, he created a big pile of rubbish out of all the sets from his shows over the past fifteen years, and he sprayed them all black. He got into this idea of recycling and renewal, and [this collection] was kind of like the end of one chapter of his life—that’s how he saw it. Obviously, after [his suicide], a lot of things went through my mind. But I’ll never know.

What did you find most interesting about his process?
I liked the layering—how he would create things in layers. His mind knew exactly what the cloth would do. The fact that he could turn something from just basically a roll of cloth into this wonderful creation in a matter of minutes was interesting for me.

How did you go about selecting what images to include in the book?
I insisted that [McQueen] edit the book. I shot on film, I made six hundred prints, I laid them out in a photo book for him, and I said, “The final edit is yours.” So basically, the choices are his and the sequence is his. It’s unique because it’s the only book that he produced himself. It was his vision and my pictures. I had a maquette made, which is this enormous hundred-pound book. It’s got handwritten notes inside from him to me. He’d take that book home and edit the pictures, and it would go by courier to me, and I would make notes and make changes, and then it would go back to him. Finally, we locked it down and were ready to go, but then circumstance intervened. Continue Reading “Nick Waplington Talks Alexander McQueen and Working Process” »

Seeing a Pattern


On February 15, Phaidon Press will release Pattern, a book that highlights one hundred compelling fashion designers on the rise. Phaidon handed over the book’s curatorial duties to a group of ten designers and industry insiders (including stylist Keegan Singh, Preen’s Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, the SHOWstudio team, and Business of Fashion‘s founder Imran Amed, just to name a few), each of whom chose ten talents to fill Pattern‘s pages.

The book (which is a follow-up to the 2005 fashion tome SAMPLE) features established designers (Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Christopher Kane, Sarah Burton), well-known emerging labels (Eddie Borgo, Thomas Tait, Creatures of the Wind, Mary Katrantzou, whose work is pictured above), and proper newbies (Simone Rocha, Marques’ Almeida, Phoebe English, Maarten van der Horst). The designers’ diverse aesthetics, techniques and outlooks are presented via detailed introductions, backstage, campaign and editorial photographs, and never-before-seen sketches, all of which serve to give readers an in-depth understanding of their work. “For me, seeing that the designers had a consistent point of view that’s true to their style was important,” said Singh, whose picks include Cushnie et Ochs (left), Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, Tabitha Simmons, Dominic Jones, and Gianvito Rossi, among others. “You know, it’s like Azzedine Alaïa. He has his thing, and he always sticks to it,” he added. So does Singh think the next Alaïa is somewhere between Pattern‘s covers? “It’s a possibility!” he laughed. At the very least, he notes, “the book gives the young designers a chance to reach broader audiences; it exposes them to a whole new group of people.”

Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators will be available on February 15, on

Photos: Both images feature in Pattern: 100 Fashion Designers, 10 Curators. Mary Katrantzou—Nick Knight and Dinos Chapman originally for Garage Magazine; Cushnie et Ochs—Courtesy of Cushnie et Ochs.

The Recent Rush of Plush Velvet


Nothing adds a royal touch quite like velvet, and we’ve noticed plenty of it in the recent pre-fall, Haute Couture, and even menswear collections. At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton whipped up an ecclesiastical draped robe in cardinal red, while Stella McCartney, Rochas’ Marco Zanini, and Peter Copping at Nina Ricci were among the designers who incorporated the fabric into eveningwear. Christopher Kane, for his part, took the material in a more casual direction with a cool biker jacket. Velvet is getting play in the real world, too. Jessica Alba turned up to the Dior Haute Couture show this week wearing a sumptuous black topcoat, while Joséphine de la Baume gave off a witchy vibe in a crushed-velvet number at the Amy Winehouse Foundation Ball.

CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW of our favorite velvet looks.

Sarah Burton, OBE


Keeping the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding gown hidden from London’s notoriously crafty paparazzi is deserving of accolades in and of itself. But today at Buckingham Palace, Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton was awarded an OBE for her contributions to British fashion. The honor, which stands for Order of the British Empire, has, in the past, been bestowed upon such fashion forces as Professor Louise Wilson of Central Saint Martins (who actually taught Burton) and Stephen Jones, among others.

After Prince Charles presented Burton with her award, The Telegraph asked the designer—who is currently pregnant with twins herself—if she would be making maternity clothes for Kate Middleton. Burton reportedly laughed and said, “I hope I will be.” To be honest, though, we’re more excited to see what she’ll show for McQueen’s upcoming pre-fall collection.

Photo: Sean Dempsey – WPA Pool/Getty Images

A Wild Night In London, When Fashion’s Finest Party At The Zoo


While Americans were talking turkey over the weekend, the Brits had other animals in mind—like cheetahs, for example. They were among the guests (albeit caged) at a dinner and auction at one of the city’s more unusual party venues: the London Zoo. Proceeds from the evening, cohosted by sprinter Usain Bolt and PPR’s Jochen Zeitz, went to the Zoological Society of London and Zeitz’s own foundation.

In his off hours, Zeitz, the Swahili-speaking, monastery-dwelling CEO of PPR’s Sport & Lifestyle division, devotes his time—and funds—to conservation and community-building efforts, racking up accolades like the FT‘s Strategist of the Year and Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit along the way. If Bolt—the Zeitz Foundation’s ambassador for culture—is the world’s fastest man, Zeitz may be the greenest.

Friends from the office, so to speak—the likes of Stella McCartney, with husband Alasdhair Willis (above, with Zeitz and Bolt), Suzy Menkes, and Ozwald Boateng—came by to show their support, and several PPR brands had contributed auction items. Among them were a dress from Sarah Burton’s first McQueen collection, a pair of Bolt’s running shoes (he is sponsored by Puma), and a gown from a fellow environmentalist, Vivienne Westwood. A surprise lot from Sir Richard Branson was announced to the cheers of the crowd: a flight to Branson’s Necker Island to run 100 meters against Sir Richard himself. It went for £30,000 to an anonymous bidder. Racing Bolt, on the other hand, still requires passing Olympic trials.

Photo: Courtesy Photo