Alexander McQueen: Remarkable tailoring, artistic anatomy
A cool and clever encounter of the strictest tailoring combined with the voluptuousness of anatomy in a dramatic show and collection for Alexander McQueen by designer Sarah Burton staged Saturday night.
Presented in a round white show-space beside Napoleon’s tomb, guests perched on collapsible primary school wooden seats laid out in circles, echoing the decorative designs, patterns and even the musculature of the torso.
Austere, elegant, tough and frequently brilliant this was the latest proud and percussive fashion statement from Burton for the UK house.
Opening with Naomi Campbell in mannish serge wool pants and matching bustier, her hair in a two-foot-long braid, like all the female members of the cast. Her arrival telegraphed on a tacking video showing her walking around the circular walks – upside down.
Adding to the sense of subtle subversion, the house logo was upside down on her program notes.
For guys, Burton surgically cut double-breasted undertaker coats, before showing the same idea but with exaggerated shoulders and an extended lapel on a women. Almost like a mini tailoring tutorial within the show, and a smart way of recalling founder Lee McQueen’s early days as an apprentice tailor on Savile Row.
Seen in corset and pants made as one item; broken-pattern pinstripe gangster suits. The same material used in a cutaway tuxedo gown. All the way to the stunning ruched shouldered trench-coats, in either beige mercerized cotton or Clongowes Wood College purple calfskin, worn with long elbow-length gloves.
“I wanted to go back to the early days of McQueen, Savile Row and tailoring,” said Burton in the crowded backstage.
Before, the collection suddenly stepped up a gear with a series of fantastical anatomical prints of bone structure or muscles – seen on black technical organza coats for ladies and silk tuxedos for men.
Taking the idea further, Burton built whole super-heroine dresses out of tentacles of techy wool, metallic silk thread, and even Aran knit. Plus, she showed an Aran sweater – an old McQueen signature –cut for a medieval night.
“I also looked at that movie Tár, and when they cut Cate Blanchett’s suit. And then her whole gesture of moving her arm,” said Burton, gesticulating like a conductor.
In effect, Burton is a fashion conductor herself. And this show was the latest reminder that when it comes to creating technically audacious clothes and supreme tailoring she has few rivals – if any – in fashion today.
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