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Alexander McQueen Brings Sharpness to Paris Fall 2023 Ready-To-Wear


Sarah Burton proved once again that the house of Alexander McQueen is up there with the best in a season when the return to respecting designers who can actually cut it has climbed high on the fashion agenda. Back in Paris, she chose the right time to remind people of the sharpness and perfection of the expression of a darkly explosive imagination that lives in the McQueen ateliers in London.

Naomi Campbell led out a march of perfect black suits, white shirts and black ties, and pinstripes cut into jackets and morphing into precise strapless dresses in a black jumpsuit with a swooping corseted bustier. This season, strictness and a well-put-together uniform have emerged as themes. Here, there was a precision and controlled tension of kinkiness where nothing was quite what it seemed.

Burton attributed this to having seen Cate Blanchett in Tar. The broken lines she had woven into the pinstripes gave off a feeling during that procedure. McQueen culture reverberated, literally, throughout the round space—the musical box sound of his ‘Joan of Arc’ collection from fall 1998 played backwards; a video take on Eadweard Muybridge’s stop-motion Victorian photography ran upside down on the encircling walls. “Because it feels like everything in the world is upside down,” Burton shrugged.

Glints of fiery red and silver lit up the eveningwear. At one moment, a shredded-hem black bugle-beaded dress looked almost like a reincarnation of Alexander McQueen’s ruby red Joan of Arc dress, in which his model had met her finale in a ring of fire on the London runway.

In calling up the past and reconnecting with the earliest days she’d worked with McQueen, Sarah Burton projected this collection right into the here and now. It had drama and strength, and many options for all genders to dress very differently than the over-blown theatrical costume that has passed for event-wear these past few years.


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