Although Sarah Burton is departing from the top job at Alexander McQueen (passing the torch to Séan McGirr), the Brit still had some magic in store for hardcore fashion fans. On Tuesday, the brand took to Instagram to share Taylor Russell in not one, but two custom looks designed by Burton. And while, yes, the pieces are rather noteworthy on their own, they have quite the connection to Burton’s predecessor, Lee Alexander McQueen.
In the photos, Russell posed in two nearly identical dresses complete with beaded embroidery and fringe detailing. Although both featured a form-fitting bodice shape, the black version transitioned into a turtleneck before finishing in a sequined, lace-trimmed hood.
The red number had the same hood, yet was made different by a thinner halter neckline. For both, the actress went with embroidered heel sandals in the same fabric as their respective dress. And while we could definitely see Russell rocking this on some sort of red carpet, the designs actually have roots in one of McQueen’s most infamous collections.
The late designer’s fall/winter 1998 offering for his label, titled “Joan,” was an edgy line inspired by the Catholic martyr Joan of Arc. McQueen utilized fabrics like metal mesh and chainmail, but like many of his shows, perhaps the most iconic look of the collection was the finale.
After dozens paraded down the runway, the last model (with her face obscured by a beaded red dress similar to Russell’s) was engulfed in an actual ring of fire—a direct reference to Joan of Arc who was burned at the stake. As the fire grew, the model posed and moved around, cementing what would be one of McQueen’s most daring and memorable moments in his career.
In addition to living on the mood boards of fashion fanatics and even fellow designers, Russell isn’t the only style star who has referenced the collection previously—for the 2009 VMAs, Lady Gaga (who is quite the McQueen fanatic) wore a red, lace version of the hooded dress.
Though Burton may have a few more celebrity dressing moments in store, this moment is rather poetic as one of her last. Not only is “Joan” one of McQueen’s most referenced collections, Russell is already well into her position as a style muse for designers. She’s proven herself to be just as comfortable showing up to Fashion Week in a metal coat as she is dazzling in a custom, referential look. As they say, anything for the sake of fashion.