Close up: See highlights from the Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2020

And talk about a value-rich backstory. Here are a few things one needs to know about Burton’s 42 designs shown tonight. She upcycled lace, organza, and tulle from prior seasons. She recycled and reinvented old patterns from both her and Alexander McQueen’s history.

She worked primarily with linen from Northern Ireland and linen made from flax grown at a particular female-owned farm—a farm that had until recently housed livestock. She created damasks with the sole remaining linen weaver in Ireland.

She created lustrous, light-as-paper linens with the sole remaining beetle in Ireland (beetling is a process in which linen is covered in potato starch and then pounded on a wood machine for hours on end). She designed embroideries of vivid, blooming endangered flowers for a dress of silk faille and an ivory suit. As with her Fall 2019 offering, Burton cut her tailoring from British mohair sharkskin, worsted wool from mills in the north of England. Local, repurposed, conscious, artisanal.

And spectacularly beautiful. This was by far the most exquisite collection of the season to date. Every piece was purposeful and important: a black evening suit with a slashed jacket to create a new spin on tails, with a lace-trimmed shirt elegantly spilling out; a simple day dress in black beetled linen with a pin-tucked bodice and exuberantly puffed sleeves; a tiny strapless frock in hand-pleated, hand-cut pale blue organza meant to resemble a flax flower; an ivory sweaterdress with a tiered skirt and sleeves knit so fine as to resemble tulle; a trench in raw linen and black wool with a flirtatious backside. There were looks that demanded a red carpet or a wedding day—an asymmetric explosion of lace and ruffles anchored by half of a tailored jacket—and others that demanded a smart office (the most powerful suits anywhere) or a very chic day (a patched, striped shirtdress with swaggering sleeves and a sleek bodice). There was a slashed knit frock in navy for a hot date, and a draped number in ivory crochet for an even hotter one.

A hand-pleated, hand-cut, spiked flower dress in dégradé rose pink silk organza gauze. From the Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2020 show in Paris.