Alexander McQueen: Menswear AW19
Knock-knock. Who’s there? A menswear collection of tailored perfection, hailing directly from the mind of Sarah Burton. Dropping totally out of the blue, without a sign or explanation, Alexander McQueen have just released a men’s lookbook for AW19. But at the end of the day, these couture-like levels of beauty don’t need no explanation. Choosing to skip on showing the collection on the catwalk this past season, Burton could have taken this as an opportunity to present something simple and subdued, perhaps a collection of essentials with the McQueen signature. You know, a black suit with a subtle detail or a funky shoe. But that would be expected and boring. Alexander McQueen was never expected or boring, and neither is Burton,
Taking inspiration from the North and Northern Soul, building on her last women’s collection, Sarah Burton veiled the rough, post-war depression with a sense of optimism and creative freedom of the 1980s New Wave. The greyness of steelworks and docks meets the electric energy of The Smiths, New Order and Joy Division. Instead of a documentarian vision of the North in a certain time period, Alexander McQueen’s AW19 menswear collection sums up the romanticised notions of this unique area into a collection of rich, embellished and perfectly-tailored clothes. Suits obviously take the leading word, as it’s usually the case with McQueen – from rough plaids in wool to delicate silks covered in oversized floral prints. Traditional silhouettes get a new, subversive take as feminine and masculine elements collide. Leather pieces and trench coats complete a fantasy wardrobe of a 21st century man with a nostalgia for the past. Turning the frown upside down, all the longing for the days that came before is repackaged into utopian beauty. The final two looks of the collection hit peak couture, with suit jackets covered in crystals and chains, reflective of a 1950s ballroom chandelier.
It sometimes feels like fantasising is only allowed when looking at women’s collections. Menswear is just too often focused on forming a reality and portraying a real street in a real city, with real characters wearing those clothes. This collection is an opportunity for all us big daydreamers to see men’s clothes as an opportunity to express our unreal ideas about who we want to be. Thank you for that, Sarah Burton.