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Autumn/Winter 2012/13

Horseshoe boots

Calfskin, suede, mink fur, rubber, metal

Alexander McQueen, London, UK

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These leather and mink horseshoe boots were worn on the Paris catwalk as part of the dreamlike spectacle that was the McQueen Autumn/Winter 2012/13 collection. 

Designed by Sarah Burton, the collection was faithful to McQueen's legacy, keeping a fascination with nature at the heart of it. However, Burton’s approach was lighter, determined as she was to capture ‘a kind of soft futurism…optimistic and forward-looking.’

The show was arranged as a series of shapes and patterns which organically exploded into more dramatic forms. Short sculpted skirts in white jacquards opened out into cherry blossoms, followed by laser-cut ponyskin on leather, before a grand finale of extravagantly oversized shapes in goat fur, ostrich feather and Mongolian lamb.

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Each look was topped with a sci-fi inspired mirrored plexiglas visor and tailed with these hoof-like, heel-less boots, shod with a horseshoe in the platform sole. The materials used to make the boots mirror the explosion of fur and feathers that increasingly adorned the catwalk models as the show reeled on.

Burton acknowledged that she pushed herself more for this collection. She created a spectacle which showcased stunning technique and luxurious fabrics, described as the icing on the cake of what we do.’

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The lack of wearable everyday clothing from this collection was noted but quickly forgotten as critics and consumers alike revelled in the magic of the show.

Craft Skills

These boots are testament to the attention to detail which characterises a McQueen collection. The skilful insertion of a horseshoe into the sole is a symbol of McQueens dedication to craftsmanship and the marrying of the traditional and artisanal through new technologies and forward-thinking design. 

Burton has continued to nurture the McQueen workshop, a force of dozens of skilled artisans responsible for the fine detail and embellishments that mark out a McQueen garment. In an endeavour rivalling the Parisian couture atelier, the makers perfect three-dimensional floral embroideries, pin-tucking and pleating, or spend hours painstakingly securing marabou feathers onto the finest fabrics.

For the Autumn/Winter 2012/13 collection, one tiered dress alone had 80 godets sewn into it – small triangular inserts of fabric set into a garment to encourage it to flare, adding width and volume. Another dress of deep pink organza was attended to by nine of the team backstage before the show, hand-massaging its many layers to bring them to life.