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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Alexander McQueen, Pre-Fall 2013: Puritans, Popes, and Vampire Queens.

Previously on Alexander McQueen.

As is often the case with Alexander McQueen, it was very difficult for me not to include every single outfit in the collection. This was a show so beautiful that the background for the lookbook photoshoot had to be blank, because anything else might have run the risk of overpowering the beauty of the clothes. Plus, the austerity of a whitewashed backdrop fit in with the puritanical theme.
pics from Style.com
And when I say "puritanical", I don't mean that metaphorically. This season, Sarah Burton took her inspiration directly from priestly vestments, nuns' habits, and the severe black outfits of the Puritans. Featuring everything from medieval robes to 17th-century style buckled shoes, this collection was dramatic while still remaining entirely serious throughout.

The cape-effect tailoring on these gowns seems closely inspired by the chasuble (the outermost layer of a clergyman's ceremonial clothes), with some of the outfits going so far as to look like actual priests' robes. Others were a little more fantastical, allowing for conservatively high necklines and Puritan shoulders on top, but short skirts and leather thigh-highs on the bottom half.
I often see the word "costumey" used in fashion editorials, usually preceded by the phrase, "to avoid looking...". Well, it will probably come as no surprise whatsoever that I have no qualms about looking costumey. What's the point of high fashion if not to look interesting? And with with Alexander McQueen, "interesting" is a guarantee. The nipped-in waists and simple, tailored silhouettes could have come from any McQueen collection of the past ten years, but the severely monochrome colour palette and religious overtones are a definite step away from the more organic, animalistic inspirations of the pre-Sarah Burton era.


Regarding the costumey nature of Sarah Burton's designs, there were, as always, several ensembles that seemed to have been taken directly from the wardrobe of an evil witch-queen. I can only hope that one day the McQueen brand and/or Burton herself is hired to provide costumes for a fantasy movie, as with Jean-Paul Gaultier's work on The Fifth Element.



The black robes pictured below were probably the most literal interpretation of Christian liturgical clothing in the entire collection. Interestingly, there was no religious imagery present at any point in the lookbook. Rather than going full-on Madonna and festooning everything with crucifixes, the collection was accessorised by long chains with acorn pendants, an indication that Sarah Burton is very aware how easily this design theme could slip into parody.

Sarah Burton is known worldwide for designing Kate Middleton's wedding dress, so it's hardly surprising that this collection was rounded off by multiple wedding-appropriate gowns rather than the traditional one. Personally, I think this next outfit is a far more daring and beautiful style of wedding dress than the rather more conventional efforts put forward by most other big-name labels.
Previously on Alexander McQueen.

10 comments:

  1. My entire reaction to this collection is basically just sdlkjgfjdfhgsdfgsdhgsjahzfjhdgs.
    (The chasuble reference made me grin - spot on! - because I was just translating something about the robe chasuble, which in French is the name of the pinafore/jumper dress.)

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  2. New. Favorite. Designer.

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  3. Wow, dresses worth shaving my legs for.


    Not even kidding. Would wear all of those.

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  4. McQueen was my fav. brand pre-Burton, and I had my fingers crossed about where it would go, directionally, once she fully took the helm. She's doing such a marvelous, marvelous job.

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  5. I would wear all of these. Must find more McQueen.

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  6. Absolutely gorgeous.

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  7. Elizabeth Perry | watersword21 January 2013 at 19:05

    GodDAMN, this is a stunning collection. I would wear EVERYTHING in this lookbook, and I hate dresses with a burning passion.

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  8. this is the problem with alexander mcqueen. SO BEAUTIFUL but also probably the MOST expensive available.

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  9. Holy crap, this collection is absolutely spectacular!

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  10. When I saw this show, my first thought was Star Wars episodes 1-3, in all honesty.

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