A landscape of London city and cloudy skies was an ideal backdrop for Sarah Burton’s storm-chasers inspired SS22 collection for last night’s Alexander McQueen show. Returning as creative director, this was Sarah’s first show since the pandemic began, taking place at London’s Tobacco Docks within a futuristic transparent dome.
The show occurred outside of the bounds of recent fashion weeks, placing emphasis on McQueen’s connection to London as the place where his work began. Speaking to Vogue, Burton also explained skies as her source of inspiration for this collection, with previous campaigns referencing earth at the Thames riverbank. The sky acts as a source of sunshine and happiness, contrasting to the turbulence and unexpected turns the weather can take, which directly relates to the dichotomy often explored in Alexander McQueen shows.
A formal blazer dress, including leg of mutton sleeves and a deflated-style bustle attachment with draped ribbons, opened the show in the McQueen fashion of tradition and subversion. Burton’s personal influences were highlighted in inflated, cloud-like sleeves, and abstract blue and white prints resembling cloud formations. Soft colour palettes of pale blues, greys and whites blended naturally into the background tones of silver, glistening skyscrapers and the sunny skies of London. Some garments included direct prints of clouds, particularly this was most effective on a subtle, black swing dress with stark white clouds emerged from the bottom hem.
Considering nature as something we live alongside, Sarah Burton also shared her concern for peaceful interactions rather than human domination of the earth. By using chrome-free leather, upcycled fabrics and recycled polyester taffeta, McQueen took a step in the right direction to reconsider how our clothes impact the environment.
Structured, tailored suits juxtaposed tulle gowns in pastel yellow, white and bright pink. Similarly, contrasts were created through differing fabrics of leather, latex, tulle and chiffon coming together in a-line dresses. A series of black leather and blue denim looks were also impactful, incorporating multiple heavy fabrics to create strong, tailored silhouettes, accentuated with metal details like zips and belts.
A series of elaborate looks closed the shows, these included a blazer literally dripping in jewels (a reference to historic English monarchical portraits), mixtures of sheer chiffon with layers of fabrics fluttering in the wind, and finally three all-black looks with stark detailing of silver crystals. Naomi Campbell closed the show in a chic, cropped blazer with detailing above the hem of chunky crystals, paired with a full tulle skirt and tights layered with draped, dripping jewels.
Alexander McQueen’s show was attractive, chic and wearable – a practical exploration to make something as overwhelming as the sky digestible into individual looks. Unplanned storms and glimpses of sunshine could be seen throughout the collection, incorporating the whim of nature into the tailored, creative process of making garments at McQueen.
Words by Caitlin Sahin