Full disclosure: I did not attend the Alexander McQueen Spring 2011 runway show. I had assigned the piece to another writer, who was forced to back out at the last minute. So my ideas are drawn from images, as well as the first-hand knowledge I already possess of the house and the company that owns it, PPR.
PARIS--My clearest image of Alexander McQueen, the brand, is the designer's Spring 2010 runway show, which I attended last fall in Paris on behalf of my former employer. I think I sat 3rd or 4th row--I still have blurry images of those hoof heels on my iPhone. It was the last proper show McQueen would live to see, and it was spectacular. Unearthly, Godly, serpentine: he offered us the most distinct digital prints, the most magnificently sculpted bodices.
McQueen's final collection, which debuted last March, was more ornate. There were lots of reds and golds with headpieces and plenty of layers of fabric. As someone who grew up attending Russian Orthodox church services, there was something about the collection that reminded me of what the religion's strictest priests wear every day.
This season, with McQueen's tragic passing in February 2010, his second-in-command Sarah Burton has taken over. Burton, who worked with McQueen for early 20 years, understands the delicate position she's in. While the collection mightn't have brought many editors and buyers to tears as McQueen's had in the past, it certainly respected his vision while moving it every-so-slightly forward. There were feathers, lace, and several shapely bodices.
For PPR, the company that owns Alexander McQueen, Burton was the best choice. While execs certainly toyed with the idea of bringing in a big name designer, they understood that to keep devotees happy--and sales steady, for that matter--someone close to McQueen would have to be in charge. While the label was nearly always in the red, the last few seasons have been profitable. And they'll continue to be, as long as fashion lovers feel that they need to grab hold of a piece of McQueen, before his work is gone forever.
What did you think of the collection?