Sarah Burton lets fantasy take flight like few designers working today, but for her fall collection for Alexander McQueen, she drew inspiration from closer to home: the many faces of the British male.

The designer conjured an eclectic mental collage: Savile Row tailoring; Perry Ogden’s photographs of Irish pony kids; East End boys and Samuel Beckett. Then there was founder Lee Alexander McQueen himself, who she recalled was fond of camel coats, shearling jackets and Crombie coats.

It translated into a savvy mix of archetypes, expressed via everything from a pinstriped suit and a distressed mohair sweater to a bounty of deconstructed outerwear.

“It was taking this very classic British wardrobe and subverting it, turning it on its head,” she explained backstage. “It was almost like making each garment of the wardrobe very, very McQueen, so it wasn’t so much about a fantasy journey, it was more about something very grounded in reality.”

Hence, suit jackets were nipped in at the waist to explode the shoulders. Featherweight slim trenchcoats came tied around the waist like long skirts. Bomber jackets, pea coats and an oversized patchwork leather duffle coat featured trompe-l’oeil double zips that created the illusion of layering.

There was plenty of the house’s signature evening wear too, from a classic black top coat with impeccable proportions, worn with a flowing fringed silk scarf and white sneakers, to a patchwork silk dressing gown coat glinting with jet beads.

The display brought to mind the brand’s early men’s wear shows in Milan, minus the menacing overtones. The result was opulent, desirable, and utterly McQueen.

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