Alexander McQueen Soars to New Heights with a Brilliant Fall/Winter 2023 Collection
I feel like I can sum up my feelings about Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter 2023 in four words: Thank you, Sarah Burton. It’s my prediction that this show will go down in fashion history as her best work for the house. Calling up the house’s Savile Row origins in precise tailoring and flawless pattern-cutting, the show launched with Naomi Campbell stalking the runway in a noir velvet gown with a pointed bust before diving headlong into a strict series of suits. They were strong-shouldered, double-breasted with roomy trousers, and worn with neat white button-ups and leather ties. Very controlled, very nouveau American Psycho.
Some looks reimagined suit tailoring as strapless dresses while others elongated pinstriped blazers into coats. I adored the simplicity and beauty of a black suit with a foldover lapel on one side and an asymmetrical button running catty-corner to it (Look 15). Trenches were in their own league of excellence, particularly one in eggplant leather. This was Burton’s exploration of the anatomy of clothing, and how materials can be molded and tailored to exalt the human form. She gave a masterclass on it.
The anatomy of flowers came in exploded forms that were transformed into dresses: one was royal purple and worn by French singer Yseult Onguenet, who recently fronted a McQueen campaign. Another was in rich red leather with a shoulder-hugging accent on one side. Other looks were printed with X-Ray orchid blossoms. This motif was repeated on trenches and coat-dresses alike.
It was a feast for the eyes and a balm to the soul.
Other surprises: beaded black dresses with slashed fringes that recalled Lee McQueen’s ‘Joan’ dresses for Fall/Winter 1998 or his looped and dripping fringes from Spring/Summer 1998. One exquisite pewter silver look worn by Adut Akech recalled Burton’s ‘Lovespoons’ collection (which Adut Akech also wore at the time). Self-referential fashion at its finest. It was love at first sight when it came to a cream dress hugged with rope attachments. You have never seen a look walked more beautifully, I promise.
There were also stiff denim and leather separates that felt like armor, as did a black suit with corpuscular silver attachments that clung to the shoulders like barnacles. Later looks turned models into walking flowers, some with high crumb-catcher necklines, and others with immensely frilled shoulders. What’s more is that every single look had something to say. There wasn’t a wasted moment or an idea that was repeated to the point of being dull. It was a feast for the eyes and a balm to the soul. It’s my prediction that this show will go down in fashion history as her best work for the house.