Alexander McQueen menswear dives into the escapism of William Blake
Shades of fantasy and colour gradients were the running theme of the latest menswear collection from Alexander McQueen for the Spring/Summer 2022 season. Pieces were surrounded by a halo of fantasy and symbols that celebrated and paid tribute to the work of English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake, revered today for his richly imaginative literary and artistic universe and his broad-reaching versatility.
And so, with their latest offering, presented on Wednesday, 21 July, creative director Sarah Burton and her team embarked on a journey into the imagination of the artist born in London in 1757. "Drawing on the concept of imagination as a pure form of escapism, it centres around lightness, air and water – on beauty emerging from darkness," wrote the brand about the collection's inspirations, in a succinct note accompanying the lookbook showing its latest designs.
Shot by Paolo Roversi, the collection opens with a discreet look faithful to the characteristic tailoring of the British brand – a suit in black wool, reimagined through the application of silver zips, which twist around the jacket and bring definition to the sides of the trousers. This silhouette is reinterpreted elsewhere in the collection with a suit in pink wool, which features double zips down the front of the jacket and follows on from a fitted white cotton vest, decorated with a fantastical Blake illustration reproduced in striking black embroidery.
The influence of the Romantic artist and mythology enthusiast can also be seen in a large ivory-toned jacquard coat, which serves as a canvas for Blake's vision of Dante, a print which returns in a range of different suit trousers and jackets embellished with dreamy swirls. It also makes an appearance in a memorable dress with an embroidered bodice and an ample skirt of tulle and organza, in which various shades of blue blur and seep into each other. This last piece proposes an alternative masculinity that shifts away from tailoring and nods to the Kering-owned brand's punk roots.
The collection is rounded off with an elegant black tuxedo, where the jacket swaps out sleeves for an asymmetrical ridge of structured frills that create a peplum effect. This style is echoed in a white poplin shirt, which also features strokes of Dante and subtle diagonal undulations, as well as in an impressive double-breasted overcoat with black silk frills.
As for the footwear, it focuses on classic slim boots, black moccasins and white leather sneakers, which contrast with the exuberance of the collection's centre-piece dress. In terms of accessories, the jewellery brings a touch of glam rock with fantastical silver chains and pendants, double rings and chunky earrings. These alternative and subversive references reflect the brand's rebellious spirit, which is still alive and well, as shown by its most recent guerilla marketing campaign, which took over the streets and transport systems of the world's fashion capitals with graffiti signed "McQueen," a strategy meant to draw attention to the label's latest capsule collection.
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