Just Not Close Enough

Just Not Close Enough

This post could be construed as being shamelessly timed to swoop into the context of today's unveiling of not one but two dresses by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen designed for the newly wed HRH Duchess of Cambridge.  Forgive the crassness. 

These pictures taken at the Alexander McQueen A/W 11-12 show and at the showroom in Paris have been sitting on the 'TO GO UP' folder for a reason and today seemed to give a good enough excuse to bung em up if not as a hopeful plea that more DETAILED, and by that I mean inch-by-inch shots of the wedding and reception dress will be published somewhere to really showcase the amount of work that Burton, the team at McQueen and the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court have put in.  Actually, weirdly the Official Royal Wedding website does a darn good job of wetting my appetite for the close-up details and processes of creating the dress with their intense descriptions.  In pure sadact fashion, I've committed to memory the fun facts of the RSN sewers having to wash their hands every thirty minutes to ensure the dress stays clean and the four flowers that make up the symbolic nature of the lacework. 

So I therefore follow up with my just-about adequate close-ups of the A/W 11-12 collection which is of course not at particularly linked to the big tamale wedding dress except there's a few 2-metre-plus trains in the latter half of the collection.  The point of the super detailed close-ups, in addition to satisfying my own perverse curiosity when looking at Burton's relatively short body of solo namesake work for Alexander McQueen perhaps would serve to consecrate her own signature, one that is revealing itself as something more feminine and romantic than Lee's.  Along with dramatic romanticism, micro deets shots would of course reveal the craftsmanship that Burton emphasises over and over again in her press statement about the wedding dress, something that was impressed upon me when I took a good chunk of time to look through the A/W 11-12 collection in the showroom.  Even looking back at these admittedly shoddy shots taken on my little S95, I can't help but be floored by the sheer amount of everything – the flurry of tulle, the jagged pieced-together broken porcelain, the precision of the cut-out tweed contrasted with zip detailing, the concertina and pearl folds of organza, the bird-like embroidery where silver beads, pearls and silk are built up into a texture you're dying to touch.  Let's face it, I just came out with the slightly nauseating phrase of 'flurry of tulle' – a superlative trigger went off somewhere in that showroom as it did today for many people…

My pleas for super-duper close-ups will most probably be answered soon enough but there's no harm in a cheeky request…
























Leave a comment
  1. HeyitsAlexP

    2011-04-29 at 10:06 PM

    I’m absolutely in love with those “broken porcelain” platforms. Brilliant! Thanks for these pics!

  2. Online Fashion Boutique

    2011-04-29 at 10:07 PM

    Alexander’s style was so unique that its easy to distinguish his style.

  3. Jo - Lost in the Haze

    2011-04-29 at 10:19 PM

    Wow, I love the first white dress! McQueen is so unique!

  4. Carrie

    2011-04-29 at 10:43 PM

    The cracked china dress looks like it could have used a wee bit more room at the bust, but that’s hardly a complaint. The details on everything are just so stunning.

  5. Trisha

    2011-04-29 at 10:54 PM

    I completely agree – love the new, slightly more romantic aesthetic that Sarah Burton brings to the McQueen brand. And the porcelain pieces are stunning. I hate that this sounds like explicit self promotion, but I do think the lovely RCA designer/ceramicist who did these pieces warrants a big shout out. I interviewed her last week. Here’s the link:

  6. Laura

    2011-04-29 at 11:07 PM

    I’m totally with you on this request, it would be so nice to see the close ups, even the shoes she wore!? She looked so classic and I love that she wore a long sleeve. L x

  7. jeanne berre

    2011-04-29 at 11:30 PM


  8. Luke

    2011-04-29 at 11:54 PM

    best imge of her second dress i could find ! She lokked amazing no ?

  9. Eli

    2011-04-30 at 12:03 AM

    your post title couldn’t be apropos. you really never get close enough to see the details…until now. Thank you for posting these, the craftsmanship is absolutely exquisite!

  10. chrys

    2011-04-30 at 12:45 AM

    mosaiced shoes and dress!!! and the craftsmanship is really mindblowing, oh to see them so close!

  11. Sarah

    2011-04-30 at 1:05 AM

    Wow, thank you for sharing. All the outfits look completely amazing.

  12. Dru

    2011-04-30 at 2:19 AM

    The detail shots just make it even clearer how intricately worked this collection really was (and Trisha, that was a great interview with Sun Ae Kim, really interesting to get her perspective on what it was like to work on the collection).

  13. Olive

    2011-04-30 at 2:30 AM

    I think the dress not really special except that has a great material and some rules to make it like washing their hands after 30 minutes, but maybe Kate just want it look simple, i just love to see her make-up. she’s so pretty..
    By the way, i love adequate close-ups of the A/W 11-12 collection and why Kate didn’t wear one of that white dress? it will be chic 🙂

  14. Joy

    2011-04-30 at 5:24 AM

    The leather gear looks dangerous up close! Still love this so much though 😀 Did you watch the wedding?!

  15. ArticulateArt

    2011-04-30 at 5:28 AM

    Wow the dresses are so intricate and beautiful! The dress and the shoes with the china are very creative and awesome!!! I think I’ve seen it made by some Chinese artist before!

  16. BusiChic

    2011-04-30 at 5:54 AM

    holy moly – it really is all about the detail – and what glorious fashgasms indeed. Thank you for getting us up close and personal with these sarah burton masterpieces and fingerscrossed you get your request answered soon. I liked the wedding dress but felt that the lace detail on the dress was too subtle to be appreciated from the afar of television – definitely need close up shots to enjoy the work from the Royal School of Needlecraft.
    PS: Hope to meet you at RAFW next week!

  17. Paulina

    2011-04-30 at 7:13 AM

    wow the details in this pieces are amazing!

  18. JM

    2011-04-30 at 8:43 AM

    The lace on the Kate Middleton dress is a distinctive 19th century Irish type of cut-out applique lace, made by layering muslin over netting and cutting out the intricate patterns before overstitching the details. It’s called Carrickmacross Lace – Princess Diana’s dress used the same type – history attached http://www.irishcarrickmacrosslace.com/history2.htm

  19. salome

    2011-04-30 at 9:51 AM

    The White dress is so woOOOonderful 😉
    2nd royal dress of Kate Middleton: http://magmoiselle.fr/?p=9889

  20. susie_bubble

    2011-04-30 at 10:42 AM

    Thank you to Trisha and JM for bring to light the work of Sun Ae Kim and to the history of carrickmacross lace – both worth further investigation for sure!
    With regards to Sun Ae Kim, I suppose she’s just another creative/designer in a long ass list who work behind the scenes with big houses but never really get credited openly… it’s a shame and I think this actually needs to be rectified if only to educate everyone about the different components of a collection and who does what…

  21. clipping path

    2011-04-30 at 10:44 AM

    This post was really awesome! you’ve done excellent job!!

  22. Jael Paris

    2011-04-30 at 12:56 PM

    Thank you!

  23. Trisha

    2011-04-30 at 1:17 PM

    Susie – thanks for your reply ! I couldn’t agree more – it’s so sad to see when talented young creatives don’t get the credit they deserve. On a happier note, SunAe is working with a big designer for next season – this time with full credits !
    Trisha xx

  24. zebiah

    2011-04-30 at 3:08 PM

    Love this way to work the porcelain !

  25. Denise

    2011-04-30 at 6:24 PM

    My mouth fell open in awed silence until I gasped “f*cking fantastic” when the porcelain bodice appeared. It’s all just too good!

  26. M

    2011-05-01 at 2:28 AM

    Seeing the details adds a whole other dimension to the work. Amazing! Can’t wait to see more, thanks susie! x

  27. BeLighter

    2011-05-01 at 12:08 PM

    WOW!!! The details are simply spectacular!!!

  28. e_ting

    2011-05-01 at 1:57 PM

    The porcelain dress reminds me a lot of Chinese artist Li Xiaofeng’s work – on permanent display at the Opposite House hotel in Beijing: http://www.swirehotels.com/en/Media/Media-Gallery/Gallery.aspx#/en/Media/Media-Gallery/Gallery/?section=The-Opposite-House&image=Beijing-Memory-2-by-Li-Xiaofeng

  29. she

    2011-05-01 at 7:05 PM

    I adore this collection!

  30. youronlyblackswan

    2011-05-02 at 2:40 AM

    umm – that porcelain dress is just insane! WOWWW! AND THOSE HEELS! all of the pieces are amazing – Found your blog on the Sportsgirl website, i’m a new reader that’s for sure 🙂
    Looking forward to seeing your posts throughout RAFW
    x Lauren

  31. the style crusader

    2011-05-03 at 10:33 AM

    I’m not too sure what my deal is but I am seriously obsessed with this collection… the close up shots are so painfully beautifully. It looks entirely from another world. Ah, and to think someone actually gets to wear these pieces They are just too incredible. xx

  32. Amanda Buhler

    2011-05-03 at 5:02 PM

    Thank you for that! Thanks thanks thanks!

  33. Fash&Mark

    2011-05-03 at 5:26 PM

    These details kill me! Perfect!

  34. Fash&Mark

    2011-05-03 at 5:26 PM

    These details kill me! Perfect!

  35. Fash&Mark

    2011-05-03 at 5:26 PM

    These details kill me! Perfect!

  36. Nina

    2011-05-07 at 10:45 PM

    OMG! That is so so beautiful…

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