A high-stakes fashion event underscored by an unexpected delay, an unfamiliar setting, and an enchanting narrative; such is the setting for the Alexander McQueen Spring 2024 collection. Emerging from the shadows cast by unforeseen obstacles, the fashion house transformed these limitations into an unparalleled creative burst. The spectacle occurred later than expected and in an unexpected city – Milan, a location that would provide a stark contrast to the ethos of McQueen and allow its collection to resonate with even more strikingly bold hues. And so, this delayed spring bloom emerged in the unlikeliest of places, unfurling its petals to reveal a bold, pioneering vision that would challenge the very fabric of the fashion world.
In true McQueen fashion, the Spring 2024 collection revisits the past while challenging the conventional notions of tailoring in ways that are undeniably forward-thinking.
Transplanted from its native soil of London, where the aesthetics of modern, deconstructed tailoring reign supreme, McQueen emerged on Milan’s sartorial stage with a collection that stood in stark contrast to its surroundings. Here in Milan, where the language of tailoring is soft, single-breasted, and navy, the house of McQueen boldly presented an anthology of designs predominantly in black or charcoal.
The legacy of Savile Row, the cradle of British tailoring, looms large over the collection, seen most evidently in the detailed double-breasted jacket or coat that carry the fingerprints of the founder. Yet these staple pieces were far from traditional, demonstrating unusual flourishes in silhouette that we predict will echo in the women’s collection later this season.
The daring, almost ubiquitous accessory was a narrow black leather tie, bringing to mind echoes of “James Bondage.” McQueen’s sartorial story unfolds further with the intriguing shapes and lines found in rounded shoulders on the opening black coat, collar-details, and hard-to-reach pockets on two reinvented frock coats. These experiments in form and structure are then juxtaposed against Sarah Burton’s conservative adaptations of the short shorts trend visible across the current menswear season.
Pushing back against tailoring’s boundaries, Burton disrupts its defined silhouette with defiantly abstract fold prints in jacquard and embroidery. This exploration, carried out in collaboration with long-time McQueen collaborator Simon Ungless, breathes life into patterns that are decidedly non-figurative.
Burton’s masculine figures, dressed in these abstract patterns, are balanced by a shift towards chiaroscuro inspired flower embroideries, perhaps roses or Rorschach-like, on a stunning white cotton suit. The balance between abstraction and floral detail leads us to crocheted knit flower vests that evoke the anatomically revealing dolls of Damien Hirst. Then, with a regal printed cape and bow-tied parka, the wearer is empowered to blossom beyond the confines of traditional tailoring.
The stand-out piece that had even a suiting skeptic was the zip-up biker trench hybrid, a garment set to narrate the story of its wearer over time. With a happy happenstance leading to Burton’s designs returning to Italy, where most of this collection was made, the Alexander McQueen Spring 2024 collection unfolded with a tale of overcoming adversities and innovating amid constraints, affirming yet again that the boundaries of fashion are meant to be pushed, reimagined, and transcended.
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