Alexander McQueen SS24 – Paris Fashion Week
Paris marked the end of an era for English fashion House. By Magdalen Manning
After 26 years at the House, 13 of them in the creative director’s chair, Sarah Burton took her final bow at Paris Fashion Week with the new Alexander McQueen SS24 show, entitled Anatomy II. With a collection inspired by blood red roses, the female anatomy and famous women in history like Queen Elizabeth I, this last hurrah lovingly doubled as a tribute to the memory of her late predecessor as well as to her time at the helm. “The show is dedicated to Lee Alexander McQueen,” she said, “whose wish was always to empower women, and to the passion, talent and loyalty of my team.”
On a catwalk aptly lined by anatomical sculptures from transgressive artist Magdalena Abakanowicz – another influence for Burton this season – Kaia Gerber opened the show to deliver the empowerment of feminine ideals, dressed in a tailored opaque black mini dress featuring carefully precise cut-out detailing and strong shoulder padding. Embodying the creative ardour of womanhood, prominent seams sculpted the waist whilst blood red patent leather mules with pointed toes set the stage.
The designer continued her exploration of dynamic femininity through shimmering metallic fabrics and armoured silhouettes. Shredded stitch knit skirts and dresses in gold and iridescent reds draped the body and swung like a metronome with each step. Asymmetry played all the way through, particularly with the one-sleeved gowns that veiled the body in close, silver-encrusted embroidery to contrast with the half-pleated, snow white chiffon skirting.
Elsewhere there were tributes to ‘Englishness’ itself, with imposing prints of scarlet English roses on ivory canvases for long, double-layered sleeveless dresses and suits with three-quarter jackets. Unfinished beaded embroidery in vermillion streamed off black suits and masculine overcoats with exaggerated curved shoulders – as if to say, ‘we’ll get around to it if we want to’.
In fact, everywhere there were design touches that channelled the spirt of Lee and has made Burton such an avatar of British fashion. Extravagantly crocheted knits, fringed, bonded leather skirts, and extraordinary gowns that morphed into spectacular anatomical or floral constructions. It all reminded us of the lasting imprint Burton’s creative energy has had on the industry for decades.
Alexander McQueen SS24 perfectly demonstrated all aspects of womanhood – emotion, independence, resilience and flair. Fittingly enough, it was the embodiment of these traits, Naomi Campbell, in glamorous silver, who closed the show to bookend the narrative. And, as we said our last thank yous and Sarah Burton bid us farewell to a standing ovation, we were all left with one final question: who could follow that….?
To read our review of the Alexander McQueen AW23 show from PFW, click here
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