The house of McQueen has long been influenced by nature, with Creative Directors Lee McQueen and now Sarah Burton taking inspiration from dramatic landscapes and the flora and fauna that inhabit them. Last season it was Scotland and the Shetland Isles, this time around it was Cornwall, its pagan communities and especially the Cloutie trees, described by Burton as "spiritual trees that are places of pilgrimage, their branches and twigs adorned with colourful ribbons and personal treasures representing the hopes and dreams of those who tied them."
And so came forth a romantic line-up featuring long, fluid medieval-style gowns decorated with trailing coloured streamers (echoed also in the undone plaited manes of the models) and hand-embroidered flowers, strawberries, deer and other woodland creatures. Patchwork dresses added to the organic, handicraft feeling of the collection. In a palette of white, black and red (a popular colour combo this Paris season), they felt youthful and ultra-contemporary in a way that previous McQueen collections, although breath-taking, haven't.
Tailoring came by way of raw-edged tuxedo coats and belted calf-length coats – some sleeveless, others with sharp shoulders – layered over wide-leg trousers. For evening, sheer ruffled mini numbers are perfect for cocktail hour while the finale of feather-embellished, bead-embroidered metallic gowns would certainly guarantee best dresses status.