Alexander McQueen Resort 2021

Next Monday, November 16, at 9:50 a.m. ET Sarah Burton is due to join Vogue Runway’s chief critic Sarah Mower for a 35-minute conversation that will mark the first session of this year’s Forces of Fashion summit. Like so much else in 2020, FoF has migrated from IRL to digital, and it promises to be well worth a window on your desktop. Anyone seeking some direct-from-designer insight about this attractively photographed pre-collection by Burton and her team is especially urged to jump on the stream.

As per the notes that accompanied these look book images this morning: “This collection was designed during lockdown. It is made predominantly out of stock fabric: overprinted, overdyed—renewed.” The result was photographed on a beach along what looks like a section of southern England’s Jurassic Coast, an area long renowned as a fruitful source of fossils. Both in material substance (as outlined in that statement) and creative expression, that location seemed pertinent to the clothes. This was a new McQueen collection in which many long-standing preoccupations of the house were both preserved and evolved.

The process of production was transformed into product on an Edith Head–worthy one-shouldered gown whose silk skin was printed with sketches made while preparing this collection: “London,” “lace edge,” “bride,” and “wildflowers” were some of the cursive clues dropped in around the silhouettes. A gabardine trench was spliced at the front with tailoring cotton, black suiting was disrupted by fiery fuchsia bows, and a biker was refashioned as a dress . All these were 2021 updates of McQueen’s ongoing exploration of hybridization and cross-pollination in dress. Violent dip-dyed dégradé color transitions and filtered screen-print-y rose reliefs deepened the impression of creative layering—thought process applied over thought process. Even in 2D the richness of texture was apparent. This latest stage in McQueen’s evolution appeared a natural selection for the year of change to come.

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