Alexander McQueen’s reconstructed romantic tailoring
What do we mean when we think of the idea of British gentlemanly couture? A great answer could be seen at a thoroughly exact and elegant presentation by the house of Alexander McQueen.
Unveiled inside The Charterhouse, a magnificent medieval building in East London, the collection boasted a variety of influences – including Japanese gardens, tough chic and Savile Row tailoring -- though the key story in this spring summer 2020 collection was how these clothes included subtle elements of womenswear in so many menswear looks.
Take the perfectly cut black serge blazers, dissected at front and back with ladylike guipure lace. Or consider the perfectly cut Edwardian grey suits, finished on one side by a marvelous retractable fan of matching fabric. Pause and admire the splendid clinker built black silk gentleman’s coat – a fabric one expects to see used in a little black dress - completed with faux military regalia of silver embroidery and dazzling crystals.
The house’s founder would certainly have been proud of the tailoring too: double layered jackets, waistcoats and redingotes in mixes of North of England pinstripes.
Past visits by Lee McQueen with his successor Sarah Burton to Japan inspired some beautiful silver thread embroidered dragons. The house had already telegraphed its intentions on Instagram – with bold images on Gordon of Khartoum military coats, magically finished with brilliantly patterned bullion.
Both the Edo and Meiji period melded in some remarkable floral prints, with Japanese plum blossom, chrysanthemum and spider lilies seen in poetic rock star jackets and suits. And in a bravura gesture, a belted ecru leather trench coat came hand-painted with abstract Zen garden flowers.
The night before, the house hosted a refined dinner inside Europe’s most sought after invitation – Annabel’s. It’s the uber opulent private-member Mayfair club, known for the glistening decadence of architect Martin Brudnizki, who clearly believes too much is always enough. A score of top menswear fashion editors from multiple GQs and the New York Times dining on tuna tartar and grain-fed beef tenderloin inside the exuberant Art Deco brilliance of the club’s Silver Room.
It was a rather elegiac moment too at the McQueen presentation, with liveried waiters and guests enjoying a spicy Bloody Mary or two on a sunny Sunday morning at London Fashion Week Men’s, inside the garden of the 14th century monastery.
No sign of the media shy Burton at this presentation. Though, in an era where designers are meant to be 360-degree creators -- who not only create clothes but brand build, envision shops, conceptualize ad campaigns and develop mass social media communities -- Burton’s shyness does have a certain charm.
Just a slight pity, one could not have complimented her on such a great collection.
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