“Wild beauty” was Sarah Burton’s inspiration behind the Alexander McQueen Fall 2014 collection. She insisted she was over construction, corseting, control. “I wanted to see the woman’s face again,” she said. “Free her a bit, touch her, feel her.” Her Fall Alexander McQueen collection was built on a swingy trapeze shape, a childlike proportion. “It’s the world through an innocent child’s eyes,” said Burton. Take the fairy-tale aspect, for instance—the ethereal, magical quality of delicately embroidered organzas, or coats exhaustively composed from hand-cut feathers to create the illusion of moth’s wings, or virginal smocks in broderie anglaise.

The artisanal aptitude of the McQueen atelier was so much in evidence in the extraordinary detailing of the collection that the clothes straddled a fine line between ready-to-wear and couture. This may be the most logical option for Burton going forward. She is so entranced by time-consuming technique that it’s hard to envisage a time when mass production carries the McQueen ethos to the masses.