Alexander McQueen

Opulence with a darkly romantic twist

Alexander McQueen’s Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear runway show in London was a grand arrival and a great return to the hometown of the house’s founder, the late Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen. For the last fourteen years, first under the direction of Lee himself and then under Creative Director Sarah Burton, his right-hand woman and successor, the British house once again chose Paris as its city of choice for the main line’s seasonal runway presentation.

Sarah Burton has continued Alexander McQueen’s aesthetic of contrasts. The McQueen woman is confident, sensual and ultra-feminine, with tough accents that are both grounded and ethereal. Motifs such as butterfly and floral prints, chunky chains and feathers recur in the collections that are impeccable in cut: Alexander McQueen’s tailoring background shines through in the leather corsetry and strong-shouldered jackets that lend an air of intense sexuality to his sylph-like woman.

This Fall/Winter, the narrative was beguiling: a vision of a creature that lives in a charmed, surreal world, who obsessively gathers precious treasures during her nomadic travels. Like a magpie, she’s attracted to all that glitters and tucks her finds away in her messy bedhead hair while wearing sheer but regal dresses that look as though they’ve been sprinkled with tiny precious metal particles like stardust on a nocturnal nymph.
The silver- and gold-plated pins placed between the messy strands of hair are set with Swarovski crystals, pearls and semi-precious stones, as are some of the winged ear cuffs, chokers and necklaces. The star-shaped hairpins laid with clear or black Swarovski crystals, together with the scarab beetle and evil eye pins set with blue stones, reflected the supernatural celestial theme, while the cuffs—with human arms and feet, floating lips, winged unicorns, owls and clock faces—took us into the realm of the surreal, a major inspiration for this collection.
Combined with natural make-up and lightweight silk, satin, chiffon, tulle and organza that are as haute couture as ready-to-wear comes, the weird and wonderful, melancholy and lustrous all came together in this spellbinding collection, which was the embodiment of slightly undone nocturnal charm—opulence with a darkly romantic twist.