Traditional craftsmanship is an art that is slowly disappearing within certain industries, but Alexander McQueen is bringing it back in a big way.
The British haute couture label’s S/S20 collection featured a fabric that had almost been lost to time: beetled linen. In a time-intensive and elaborate process, linen is processed to give it a sheen that makes it look like leather.
The luxury brand partnered with the oldest linen mill in Ireland, William Clarke, to create its one-of-a-kind garments for the latest collection. Techniques passed down through generations were used to bring to life whimsical puff-sleeved dresses and an ensemble of trousers with a jacket. The outfits were disassembled, starched and pounded with wooden blocks, before then being reassembled to achieve the elegant lustre that makes them unique.
The whole process takes under a week to complete and requires collective effort of the entire team. According to the brand, it is the first time in its 300 years of history that the mill has beetled a complete garment.
“The connection between the clothes was the time it took to make them… I love the idea of people having time to make things together, to meet and talk together, to reconnect with the world,” McQueen creative director Sarah Burton said.
Bazaar takes a closer look at the material and process behind creating beetled linen here.
Images supplied by Alexander McQueen