Alexander McQueen: Ready-To-Wear AW24

Alexander McQueen is not a quiet house and Séan McGirr gave us plenty to talk about with his debut show for the brand – the most anticipated on the Paris schedule.

The Dublin-born designer has one hell of a legacy to follow. McQueen’s original era-defining genius and Sarah Burton’s soaring romanticism have shaped the house for the past thirty years. His job? To translate McQueen for a new generation. 

The fashion pack headed to a vast disused industrial space on the outskirts of Paris (throwing it back to the days when Lee McQueen would show in postal depots and empty warehouses). Inside McGirr created what he described as “an industrial forest” with billowing parachutes and rolls of blankets for seats. 

With no time to do a deep dive into the archive (he started in December 2023) McGirr chose to key into the spirit of the house, which he described as “assertive and hedonistic”. He talked about kids on the fringes of society and the nobility of being an outsider. The gritty early days of the brand seem to have captured his imagination. He referenced an early collection of McQueen’s The Birds SS95, where models were wrapped in cellophane. It stuck in his mind and he wanted to explore similar themes of compression, wrapping the body and body distortions. 

The first look was an oil-slick black lacquered jersey dress draped around the body. The model tucked her arms into the dress, hugging her torso as she stalked fiercely down the runway. She was the first of a slew of characterful models who stomped and scowled and strutted defiantly down the 300m concrete catwalk. They walked on “hoof” boots (that had actual metal horseshoes embedded in the the soles), each emoting the “playful aggression” the designer was looking for. 

They wore nipped-in tailored coats with jutting shoulders and trumpet sleeves, sleek leather trench coats wrapped with leather cord at the waist, and oversized funnel neck knits, worn with jeans that were bound around the legs with denim ties. The rough opulence the designer aimed for was best expressed in suits sprinkled with jet beads and a cracked mirror mini-dress, which was inspired by smashed phone screens. Ballooning high-shine cargo pants worn with skinny knits, and lace mini dresses veiled in a sheer over lay, spoke to club nights and a louche after-hours existence. His predecessor, Sarah Burton made poetically beautiful clothes. McGirr’s approach is different. His McQueen’s is younger, hungrier, grittier, darker and naughtier than it has been for years. The McQueen bad girl look is set to ride again. Hoof boots and all. 

Photography courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

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