The North – Urban cityscapes, 1950’s British realist photography, ballrooms and night clubs, collaged with the beauty of the region’s artistic heritage of poetry, painting, literature, and wild landscape.
The Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2019 pre-collection celebrates the grit, glamour and beauty of the towns of the North of England. Cityscapes and landscapes past and present, Northern artists and poets: William Wordsworth, the Brontë sisters, Henry Moore. Ghosts of glittering ballrooms and seaside illuminations are reflected in crystal chandelier prints and embroideries and deconstructed silk ballgowns in a nostalgic, sugar-spun colour palette; Northern English roses – seductive in brocade and cut-up crystal party dresses. Fast forward to the thrill of the Northern music scene and the hedonism of the post-punk era: clubs, cocktail bars and Joy Division. The jubilant optimism of the 1950s and the creative freedom of the 1980s are combined.
The collection plays on the juxtaposition between the masculine and the feminine that lies at the heart of the house of Alexander McQueen.
Referencing menswear, coats in heritage British fabrics are reworked: Prince of Wales check is exploded in scale for 1950s-inspired tweed coatings, then pieced and patched with houndstooth check and backed with duchess satin in ultra-feminine shades. Tough from the front, from behind these garments echo the line of swing coats. Trompe l’oeil draped and corseted Prince of Wales and houndstooth check jackets are worn over fluid double satin half-draped skirts and dresses or sharply cut peg trousers.
An exploration of hybrid garments continues with an oversized white cotton gabardine trench with a tailored Prince of Wales check back. Two dresses become one: a silk faille boudoir jacquard is half-draped with tonal fluid satin in saturated colours.
A ruby red silk duchesse dress exposing shoulders and throat is grounded by a black leather belt. Deconstructed and draped silk corset dresses and blouses are stamped with torn rose prints, contrasted with graphic strips of solid block colour. A collaged, photographic overblown rose appears printed or embroidered on washed duchess satin dresses and wool silk trouser suits. Haute couture volumes
are explored: full-sleeved with bustle details, floral print silk duchess dresses and blouses are fringed with black silk tulle.
Viscose-knit 1950s-line dresses feature bouncing tiered skirts. Shrunken sweaters and cable chiné knits are embroidered with crystal paste jewellery and worn with knitted nylon silk rose crinolines and knee-length foulard leather skirts. A knee-length plongé leather coat is sharp, a foulard leather peplum dress has a single draped sleeve and pleated bustle hem. Belted cotton piqué shirtwaisters make for luxe utility wear; cotton satin dresses with deep necklines, puffed sleeves and full skirts are printed with bold hand-painted checks. A sharp-shouldered trompe l’oeil tuxedo jacket is worn with wide-legged trousers that graze the floor.
Scalloped net curtain cocktail lace traces the bodices and hems of organza party dresses. Metallic rose brocade ballgowns and half- draped corset tops are deconstructed – draped, wrapped, slashed and folded – and worn over trousers; a silk faille haute couture drape enfolds a signature tuxedo jacket. Silk faille ball dresses with silk tulle underpinnings and delicate corsets, are draped and folded like an overblown bouquet then deflated – undone. Floating silk tulle corseted evening gowns and twilight tuxedo tailoring is hand- embroidered with glittering, crystal chandelier and diamanté rose embroidery.