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ALEXANDER MCQUEEN UNLOCKING STORIES | TAILORING AND SOHO

For the Autumn/Winter 2018 womenswear collection, Sarah Burton tailored a pieced together evening coat and jacket with an hourglass waist. Imagining the mannish gesture of shrugging an overcoat on the shoulders of a suit, the process became focused on creating a male version of the shape to be as elegant, smooth-lined, narrow-sharp and nipped-in as the women’s. The finished camel-hair coat and grey mohair suit jacket are constructed as a single garment. The piece features a golden satin back, creating the illusion that its lining is transposed to the outside. The smooth-lined, narrow proportions are a technically difficult construct, tailor-made to capture off-handed ease.

Sarah Burton and the menswear team began by experimenting on a classic Crombie style coat, pinning corseted details into the torso to create a waisted silhouette. The first toiles were made in black pinstripes, but that fabric was dropped in favour of a camel-hair coat over a one-button grey tonic mohair jacket – a throw-back to the Carnaby Street Mod tailoring Lee Alexander McQueen often referenced.

Deconstructing and reconstructing the jacket and coat were created using traditional basting techniques, canvas panels were hand fitted into the chest to enhance and retain the shape. The next step devised a method of cutting away the back of the suit jacket and fixing it to the inside of the coat. Instead of a more typical Alexander McQueen ‘pagoda’ shoulder, a narrow straight shoulder-line and a ‘cigarette’ sleeve-head shoulder roll was constructed as a new coat block.