Alexander McQueen decided to show men’s wear in a presentation format, rather than on a runway, but the brand refused to dial down the drama.
The opulent collection, full of Japanese references, black lace, silver bullion, and a cascade of black ribbons looking as if they were swiped from a Victorian widow’s weeds, debuted at one of the brand’s favorite London venues, The Charterhouse, a medieval maze of buildings and manicured gardens resembling a Cambridge college.
The backdrop for creative director Sarah Burton’s rich offer was a wood-paneled room with a pianist performing in the corner.
Models posed in the sort of clothes that would have made Beau Brummell and his fellow dandies weep with envy, including a fuchsia pink wool suit with trompe l’oeil double lapels, a tuxedo jacket inlaid with delicate black lace, and a lineup of tailored jackets with silver bullion and crystal embroideries spilling down the lapels.
Burton went heavy on hybrids, splicing together different silhouettes, similar to what she did for women’s pre-fall 2019. A dragon design flashed from the satin bomber jacket sleeves of a black frock coat and a cotton satin boiler suit, while embroidered images of cherry blossoms adorned the long scarves spilling from the necks of white tuxedo shirts.
Hand-painted blossoms appeared throughout the collection, as bright watercolor smudges on a long, lightweight leather coat or as a scattering of carefully drawn flowers across the front of a suit jacket.
Among the highlights — and there were many — was a long black coat with layers of ribbon-like ruffles on the skirt, made from surplus fabric from past seasons. It was a nod to the sustainability ambitions of the house and a wink to the iconic lady in black, Queen Victoria, whose bicentenary is being celebrated this year.