Models at Alexander McQueen were a gruesome sight as they took to the catwalk with safety pin piercings that cut through the cheek. One of the highlights of London Collections Men, coming from a heavyweight of the fashion landscape –if there was ever any–, Alexander McQueen took London Menswear collection to unveil its Fall/Winter 2016 with a predominantly Victorian Gothic leaning.
Alexander Mcqueen’s fall/ winter 2016 show was as theatrical as it gets. The face jewelry and medals hanging from the models’ necks looked like they were taken straight from a scene in British colonial India. That is trompe-l’œil safety pins pierced the hollow cheeks of the pale young models, giving them the macabre mien of vampires as they paraded in some of the most elegant and refined tailoring seen so far in the English capital. All the McQueen tropes were present, naturally. Dark, glamorous and romantic, Sarah Burton’s latest evolution of McQueen’s vision emblazoned butterflies and ghostly flowers all over heavy-duty outerwear, while militaristic themes were present hence there are some vast greatcoats, naval-style striped trousers and parade jackets. “It’s classics of a man’s wardrobe really,” Burton shrugged, describing the ‘neat, sharp shoulders’ of her Victorian-inspired silhouettes.
Burton’s McQueen men had their own contemporary savage beauty, “I would never dare call it ‘street’,” Burton said. “But I wanted it to feel relevant to now.” The collection did, in their typical menswear, but still typical McQueen. The menswear references were quintessential British tailoring like officers’ mess dress, voluminous greatcoats, tautly cut double-breasted suiting. The feminizing touches were subtle such as ribbons of velvet hemming coats, or as tuxedo-stripes trailing past hemlines, embroideries of jet and diamanté, and all those butterflies. “I wanted to take the stuffing out of it,” said Burton. Referring to softer tailoring specifically—silk jackets and coats based on foliate oil paintings, or the chiffon overlay on wool. By the end, it was a sort of fight between delicacy and rigor for Alexander McQueen Fall 2016 Menswear, and it was reassuring to see them make such a strong comeback after spring’s irresolute offering. Drama, drama and more drama from the always theatric label.