Thursday, 11 March 2010

A homage: Alexander McQueen Spring 2001 RTW collection

One of the late, great fashion designer's most iconic shows.

The bastard child of Peter Weiss’ play Marat/Sade, a power-dressing city wardrobe and the witchcraft aesthetic of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the show was momentous from start to finish. Set in a starkly illuminated cube – which immediately became apparent as the holding cell of a mental asylum – bandage-clad models moved awkwardly around the space, their backs arched and arms flinching demonically as they peered out through one-way mirrored glass. With such an immediate shock effect it would be easy to gloss over the clothes, but to do that would be a tragedy.

The collection itself was spectacular; a mix of confident suits, easy separates and breathtaking dresses that would be perfect for a decadent ball or to shimmy down the red carpet. It was all about texture and embellishment in the most surreal of ways. A statuesque Erin O’Connor was swathed neck to toe in nothing but washing line pegs, while another model glared out at the audience; a headpiece of birds of prey circling above her head casting ominous shadows. Cascades of silvery mussel shells adorned skirts, a medieval castle rose dramatically from a shoulder and a top dripped with crumbling jigsaw pieces, exposing nothing but bare flesh behind. Feathers too were a major theme, bustling under skirts, cocooning necks and jutting out of trouser seams, becoming more extravagant and gratuitous near the end of the show with a giant Cinderella-shaped ballgown of plumes of feathers in jet and blood red.

Yet within this spectacle there were bounds of beautifully tailored, wearable pieces. In a palette of dusky pink, duck egg blue, stone, soft lilac, and chestnut we saw chic, oversized blazers, slim waistcoats, sleeveless shirts, pencil skirts and floor skimming suit trousers that created a modern, feminine silhouette. Androgynous touches – ties, wide-leg trousers – were off set with floral embroidery and garlands of appliqué flowers that looped and twisted upon tops like a helter-skelter, while halterneck cotton dresses stood out as perfect summer attire. Of course, some pieces were inevitably distorted in Alexander McQueen’s signature way – a blazer was worn as a skirt and a pair of trousers was smeared with paint rendering them and ugly and ruined – but predominantly they were chic, functional pieces for the confident, modern woman. Ordinary made extraordinary to breathtaking results.

Here are some highlights...

1 comment:

  1. probably my favourite collection of his. just perfect in its own little fucked up way.