Fashion Show: Alexander McQueen Fashion Show

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alexander McQueen Fashion Show

FALL 2010

PARIS, March 9, 2010

Alexander's last works were given final honors by his trusted team in a hushed and dignified showing that went to his core as a designer who scaled the heights of couture accomplishment. Sarah Burton, his right hand, described how, in beginning this collection, McQueen had turned away from the world of the Internet, which he had so powerfully harnessed in his last show. "He wanted to get back to the handcraft he loved, and the things that are being lost in the making of fashion," she said. "He was looking at the art of the Dark Ages, but finding light and beauty in it. He was coming in every day, draping and cutting pieces on the stand." The 16 outfits shown had been 80 percent finished at the time of his death.

What McQueen was preparing had a poetic, medieval beauty that dealt with religious iconography while recapturing memories of his own past collections. He had ordered fabric that translated digital photographs of paintings of high-church angels and Bosch demons into hand-loomed jacquards, then taken the materials and cut stately caped gowns and short draped dresses. In its ornate surface narrative, that might read as a kick against the plain and restrained direction fashion is taking, but in their own way, the fluted, attenuated lines of his long dresses suggested a calm and simplicity. Instead of aggression, they transmitted the grace of the medieval Madonnas and Byzantine empresses McQueen had been studying.

For anyone who had watched his development through the years, the references to milestone collections were apparent. The bandage-bound heads, some with feathered coxcombs, simultaneously called up the designer's rebel-British background and his landmark Asylum collection while also catching a likeness to the modest head coverings seen in Northern European medieval portraiture. When a high-collared, formfitting cutaway jacket made entirely from golden feathers appeared, it read as a direct retrieval of McQueen's first step into haute couture in his Icarus collection, after he took the helm of Givenchy in 1996 at the age of 27. This time, though, it was realized with even more skill, with a multilayered white tulle skirt sprinkled at the hem with delicate gilded embroidery.

Somehow, that one outfit encapsulated everything about McQueen: both the tailoring and the romanticism. Perhaps he wouldn't have chosen to show it in such a simple and intimate way—in a small, ornate room to privately invited groups of editors—because that left out the full realization of concept and showmanship that equally drove his creativity. But the circumstances, sad as they are, allowed his friends and colleagues to share a long and poignant moment to look at what the man achieved, and to grieve for him.


PARIS, October 6, 2009

It could be that Alexander McQueen oh, and Lady Gaga, remotely—crashed through a whole new frontier in the projection of fashion shows as worldwide live entertainment Tuesday night. McQueen's collection, Plato's Atlantis, was live-streamed on Nick Knight's, intercut with the photographer's premade video footage. That was the plan anyway, until 30 minutes before the show, Gaga Twittered that McQueen was about to premiere her new single. She has a million followers. Inevitably, before the crashing of the frontier could quite come about, SHOWstudio itself crashed. Which may have replicated, in a whole new audience, the sensation of a young hopeful stuck outside a McQueen presentation, waving a standing ticket and being unable to get in.

Seen from on the spot, it was a big-budget production, for sure. There was a sparkling, illuminated runway in which two sinister, robotic movie cameras on gigantic black booms ran back and forth, while a screen played Knight's video of Raquel Zimmermann, lying on sand, naked, with snakes writhing across her body.

Then the models came out, dressed in short, reptile-patterned, digitally printed dresses, their gangly legs sunk in grotesque shoes that looked like the armored heads of a fantastical breed of antediluvian sea monster. McQueen, according to an internal logic detailed in a press release, was casting an apocalyptic forecast of the future ecological meltdown of the world: Humankind is made up of creatures that evolved from the sea, and we may be heading back to an underwater future as the ice cap dissolves.

The consequences, in fashion terms? Well, it was a one-note, unmissable formula of the kind several other designers have decided is the way to communicate this season. McQueen's message throughout was essentially sunk into the short dress—a steady development of his engineered sea-reptile prints, worked into a nipped-waist, belled-skirt silhouette. The colors—first green and brown, moving to aqua and blue—were exceptionally executed and swagged, and molded across panniered structures. Each dress was a work of computer-generated art crossbred with McQueen's couture-based signature cut.

In a section in which it looked as if McQueen was envisaging a biological hybridization of women with sea mammals, there were trousers whose bulbous flanks mimicked the skin of sharks or dolphins. A reminder of his taste in Savile Row tailoring came via a few looks in which formfitting gray men's fabric was cut away to reveal "portholes" filled with turquoise (an effect akin to the view from a glass-bottomed boat). Finally, then? Although there was nothing to show McQueen breaking out from his set design mold, the way he's embracing new computer technologies and the drama of the moving image puts him at the leading edge of change.


NEW YORK, July 17, 2009

Alexander McQueen's Resort collection had a lot in common with his recent menswear outing: Both were inspired by the notion of an artist in his studio. Hence the splatter effects, brushstroke and line-drawing prints, and a series of blue and white hand-painted pieces. Additionally, the women's line had a bit of romance in the form of lace overlays as delicate as insect wings. Still, fans of the graphic punch that is also part of McQueen's arsenal won't be at a loss: Amber Rose, sometime Kanye West main squeeze and one of this label's most visible supporters, could cause a stir in the leggings and the primary-colored Op-style prints.

ALEXANDER McQUEEN Runway Fashion Photos
Fall 2008 Milan Men's Collection
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