LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – In many ways the Alexander McQueen show might be thought of the “revival” delineated in the press release. The warehouse show space and the square formation of the audience resembled the grand spectacles that Lee McQueen accustomed placed on. He looked as if it would have most well-liked the audience on all sides, looking in. Maybe it had been about adjusting the gaze inwards, a sensibility much ingrained in Lee’s work. It had been true of Voss from Spring/Summer 2001 insoired by Joel-Peter Witkin and it was true of The lady who Lived in A Tree, still remembered as one of his seminal shows.
But Sarah Burton’s lyric poem to her precursor was quite simply through its presentation format. Military material and old world Victorian values messaged today were noticeably curiosities Lee explored. it had been concerning sartorial discipline, reining it in and dealing with the codes of uniforms and uniformity — “a symbol that all men are equal in the face of duty”, as mentioned within the show notes. Slogans like “Valour, Truth, Honour” adorned the immaculately tailored clothes as if to revive nobility in men’s clothing. Crystal embellishments like medallions decorated jacquard tabards, velvet saltires and chesterfield frock coats.
Imagery of the military extended beyond just the physical. Poppy, usually aused to symbolise the remembrance of war heroes, was used heavily during this collection. Even the blue and crimson from the gathering appeared notably patriotic.
It all felt sort of a departure from the standard. The audience was actually looking into the legacy of Lee McQueen, particularly parts of Regency from his Savile Row training . Five years after his tragic departure, his presence is very much like the old ideals fleshed out today, long gone but not forgotten.