Saturday, June 23, 2018

#FASHIONWEEK: Paris Fashion Week – In Review – Alexander McQueen SS19

I have an incredibly soft spot for the Alexander McQueen brand. Initially, on passing of the designer, I thought that spot would harden and I would find myself losing interest, hope and love for the brand. Needless to say, Sarah Burton, the current Creative Director at Alexander McQueen has been doing the utmost at keeping me glued to the McQueen seat and continually anticipating the next collection for both women and men.

Her spring 2019 offering is just another example of her key role at McQueen, her innate sensibility towards Alexander the designer and her pure talent as a transparent designer for the true lovers of the Alexander McQueen heritage. Heritage is a common theme with this year’s Paris Fashion Week showcases, with pretty much every fashion house pulling out its archival content to work into modernity with traditionalist quality. And for Sarah it was no different. With this collection she taps into two of Alexander McQueen’s favourite muses: Artist Francis Bacon and his photographer friend, John Deakin.

The Alexander McQueen silhouette has always been a favourite of mine, partly because it has stayed consistent – throughout, and also because I resonate with it. It’s tall, slender and yearns for hourglass particulars around the high waist. It is constantly anchored with square shoulders and grounded with block feet. In this collection, the silhouette could be seen as Sarah’s mocking of both Bacon’s and Deakin’s demeanour: John was a short man, especially for a photographer and Francis had a more stoutly body frame.

The use of colour in the collection can be seen as Burton’s take on the variety of colour expressed in both creatives’ work. Most of the works by the artist could be considered dark, muted with later work providing much more pungent colour and the photographer shot most of his portraits in black and white or sepia. His later works were discovered to be covered by a variety of paint splatters in his friend, Francis Bacon’s studio. Burton translates this through a myriad of neutrals; some alone and others with a strip of bold colour, to bright monotones and splattered paint prints and knits – even extended to body paint for presentation purposes. There are graffiti references translated into prints, as well, captured from photographs inspired by John Deakin.

Both creative beings were known for being abrupt, somewhat dysfunctional, and erratic and doing a lot effortlessly to get under their subjects’ skin. More so Deakin than Bacon. Sarah translates this through a variety of subtly design and styling mechanisms. These include: The cut-away pieces under jacket lapels and shirts and cuffs of shirts – also reminiscent of some of the shapes illustrated in Bacon’s works; the slits in jackets and coats, revealing either skin or another layer of fashion underneath propose the delving into under layers of the being; and there’s the cropped cut-away of jackets, revealing a whole chunk of formal punk underneath.

Essentially the collection fuses traditionalist Alexander McQueen with the notoriety of its muses through a modern looking glass to produce a collection that is couture street attitude with polished royalty manners. It’s rock n roll for the college geek who needed an outlet for his crazy personality. Small details here make a big difference and its beauty lies in its underlying cruelty. It’s quite possibly a ready-to-wear take on the male version of McQueen’s savage beauty.

Watch the full show here:

#parisfashionweek #pfw #menswear #alexandermcqueen #sarahburton

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