18th November 2020

Sustainable pt XII – Alexander McQueen S/S2021 Pre-Collection

The new S/S pre-fall 2021 collection adds another ingredient to an already successful recipe

Alexander McQueen has a well-earned, long-established place at the heart of the global luxury fashion industry.  It’s a place that’s been earned through their unique design aesthetic, their razor sharp tailoring and their relentless pursuit of new ways to re-interpret classic British styles in contemporary ways.  As you would expect, the recently released spring/summer 2021 pre-fall collection faithfully adheres to each of those three founding principles.  But there’s a fourth dimension to this collection that highlights another aspect of the McQueen brand that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough in fashion circles.  As with many other major designers, over the past few years McQueen has been trying to transition their operation to a more environmentally sustainable business model, and is if to provide the proof in the pudding, this Alexander McQueen S/S021 collection has been primarily produced using their own stock fabrics.  ‘Over-dyed, over-printed and renewed’ as they themselves characterise it.

What is clear, in fact what is necessary, is that the design and quality quotient hasn’t suffered from this alternative, more responsible (responsive?) approach.  In actuality, the best thing that can be said about this or any fashion collection produced almost entirely through sustainable practices is that it really is no more than incidental to the main event (figuratively speaking).  When the clothes are this good the method by which they were produced is just an added bonus, not the main selling point.  And who doesn’t love talking about McQueen clothes?

To start with, the tailoring comes to us with the customary eye-watering precision, embellished with unusual design features like pleated suit jackets shaped at the waist simple thin belts or hybrid trench coat-dresses that defy accurate description.  The single-breasted suit graduating in colour from cotton pink at the shoulders to deep purple at the trousers is a sight to behold.  There are also some new silhouettes to savour.  The bold black and white stripes of the wool and cashmere dress accentuates the rounded shoulders and half-sleeves.  The 1950s also get a look in with voluminous skirts and dresses held in check by stiffened tulle underskirts and worn with dainty flat shoes.


It’s one of those collections that makes it hard to pick out just one or two highlights – is it the extraordinary architecture of the tuxedo jacket with the wrapped bow?  The simplicity of the slim leather biker jacket with the contrasting red leather pencil skirt, perhaps?  Everybody will have their own preferences but most would surely agree that the asymmetric, one-shoulder, floor length nude gown featuring hand-embroidered sketchbook artwork is a little bit of a triumph.  If this is what the industry can do under sustainable practices it almost makes you sad it didn’t go sustainable decades ago.  Look at what we could have had in the intervening time.


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