Returning back to her roots, Sarah Burton’s Autumn/ Winter Alexander McQueen Collection has entered a new realm of imagination. Transported into a universe where mythical creatures are entwined with creatures of the night, you would be forgiven for thinking that you have entered another world and that is a clear-cut trademark of Alexander MQueen’s signature collection. As the Frow take their seats and the catwalk commences magical sprites waft delicately down the runway subverting all pre-conceptions about womanwear that you may have. And that is the sheer beauty of an Alexander McQueen show, the effortless merger between androgynous tailored suits with heavy masculine lapels juxtaposed against soft, delicate beaded sheer gowns creates a awe-inspiring fusion of mascluine meets feminine wear and the results are striking. Onlookers scribbled furiously as pastel pink romantic ruffle dresses with assymetrical crochet hems came to meet its dark sister the black sheer ruffle dress. Burton’s reimagining of the classic romantic dress features high neck ruff detail with heavy white piping and mesh layers creating the archetypal Neo-Gothic aesthetic. Sealing in the witchy, darker flavour of Burton’s interepretation of ‘evil’ & ‘darkness’ comes the ticket to gothic sensibility- the black riding cape.
The black cape is a parody of Victorian riding gear and comes into interplay with literary & mythological archetypes. Burton uses the moon as a mythological point of reference to empower women who were seen as goddesses & sorcereresses in the ancient world and the fairytale iconography throughout the collection only seeks to solidify the strength and power of women who can be multi-faceted, unreadable creatures. The clock is both a literary & mythological symbol; it not only represents the importance of time in establishing identity but it also draws upon the avante-garde energy of the hyper-real shown only too well in Alice In Wonderland, whose zany interpretation of culture left critics breathless when watching McQueen’s return to London Fashion Week. The re-imagining or re-definition of fairtyale and mythological iconography features heavily throughout the 20 piece collection, where romantic, diaphanous dresses are scattered with encrusted golden constellations, while the spontaniety of structure and sheer-naked finish puts a modern spin on traditional Asian sarees. Evidently culture has a large impact on McQueen’s collection and it would appear that an imaginative collaboration between the mystic East and the vampiric Goth have come out to play with harsh structural lines in gloomy black standing by the side of its more light hearted sister emblazoned in sequins, fantastical motifs and glitter.
Burton’s conceptualization of light and dark meets hybrid culture sees the ‘Goth look’ as the biggest talking point of the collection and its gothic sensibility draws upon MCQueen’s iconic love of historic references. This time Burton revels in the macrabare mood of Neo-Gothic culture with Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘The Crow’ taking credit for the voluminous black feathered plumed skirts layered over Victorian lace undercarriages while the black and nude bustiers with intricate embriodered detailing references burlesque culture and its boudoir appeal. No look is too polished either with a relaxed nochlant approach to tailoring leaving exposed peekaboo bralettes layered over diaphanous sheaths , with leather v-neck coat dresses exposing more decollatage than is considered the norm for winter wear. The unpolished look is dirty, gritty and richly sensual with its reference to gender-fluid androgyny.
My Favourite A/W 16 Alexander McQueen Looks
With it’s romantic ruffled bedhead laced with bejewelled clips and sacchrine sugar pink base, this frothy dreamy concoction draws inspiration from 50’s tea dresses meets Victorian lace. A pleated lower half is given interest through sheer floral lace embroidery while the butterfly motifs creates delicate structure.
Drawing upon the ‘Biker Chick’ meets the ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’ aesthetic, the sheer layered tutu skirt is offset by thick metal studded cuffs while the 80’s padded bikers jacket gives off a nochlant rock and roll vibe. The heavy proportions of the upper half is balanced out by the airy underskirt which doubles up as a tutu.
All photos are credited to Show Studio
What are your thoughts on Alexander McQueen’s A/W 16 Collection?