Mood board: Sarah Burton’s oeuvre is always centred on tailoring. For S/S 2019 she showed an exquisite collection alive with the spirit of painter Francis Bacon and photographer John Deakin. Such strong, complicated, artistic men who inhabited the drinking dens of Soho dressed with a blasé formality. Burton’s focus was on hybridised classics ripped apart at the seams and redone. She proposed razor sharp tailoring, beautiful embroideries and hard masculine silhouettes. 

Best in show: Much is said about the deconstruction of archetypal menswear – Dries Van Noten added optic prints to military shapes, Raf Simons cut away the innards of fine Crombie coats to reveal their lining. Virgil Abloh made sportswear sartorial at Louis Vuitton. We have seen a breaking down of rules, the blending of worlds and of garments. Here that idea was rigorously executed with a tailor’s eye. Sleeves on coats were slashed open, shirt cuffs sliced away. The line of the models was long and taut. Jackets in wool silk were slashed and then pieced together with military coats. 

Soundbite: ‘I wanted it to be very male,’ Burton said backstage. ‘We were looking at Bacon and his relationship with George Dyer… I wanted it to be powerfully male. There is a sense of vulnerability but also a sense of strength, confidence and danger.’ Tailoring is the backbone. Jackets with strong shoulders. Deakin’s insouciant photographs of Bacon’s inner circle guided the mood. Double breasted styles are slashed at the waist – a colossal cavalry twill trench is belted with cut sleeves as if to create a kimono. Trousers are wide. Cotton silk jacquards and embroidered in silver gunmetal draw on the works of Deakin. Standout are the fine thread paint brush swooshes that appear over the front of evening suits, the threads running loose like the artist’s imagination.§