Friday, December 31, 2010

Alexander McQueen Collection Spring 2011

The fashion world all mourned the death of one of fashion's great designers- Lee Alexander McQueen this year. His last collection, which was shown unfinished in March was one of his absolute best collections and made me wish there was more to come. It seemed appropriate that the headpieces in the collection reminded me of his Spring 2001 Collection which I can honestly say is THE reason I decided to pursue fashion as a career rather than just a childhood hobby. For him to go out the same way he came in seemed fitting.

Spring 2001 Collection (Photos from

Fall 2010 Collection (Photos from

Soon after his death, it was announced that his longtime first assistant Sarah Burton would take over as creative director in his death. She was an obvious choice as she had been at his side for quite some time and was the one responsible for turning his runway collections into more commercial pieces.

Spring 2011 was Sarah Burton's first collection as creative director and I think she definitely proved herself as the best choice for the job. The collection really evoked McQueen's sensibility but never pretended to BE him. The collection began in white- a fresh start perhaps? The group of models in the show were even different than the ones used in past shows, many of them new faces I have never seen before.

Burton kept many of the best parts of the brand, including the creative use of textiles, dramatic detailing, and use of feathers- all the while keeping the overall look slightly more wearable than the brand had been in the past years. But that is not to say that the show was without drama, it was just a more quiet version. Burton has said that she does not plan on using theatrics quite the same way McQueen has and it showed with the setting of the show. The set was simple, but still managed to be interesting to watch. It was more about the clothing than the set, which has not always been the case with McQueen shows. What has attracted me to McQueen is the sense of theatrics, but I was not off-put by Burton's new vision, not at all. I still found the vision refreshing and new, very unlike many other brands.

The show opened with white leather pieces that felt both like and unlike something McQueen would have designed himself. Many pieces from the show had a theme of ruffled vents on skirts and interesting cutouts on tops. The leather moved quite unlike you often see leather do, and at times almost had a party dress feel. There were animal references all around, between reptilian-like prints, butterflies, fur/hair, and leather. About halfway through, the collection got a little dark but then pulled back into white. I can't help but wonder if that ordering has meaning behind it.

One thing that I noticed, which was quite unlike past McQueen collections, was the lack of crazy shoes. The shoes in this collection were barely noticeable and very wearable. Footwear on the runway has become so crazy that I've almost become used to it.

Overall, I applaud Burton's new take on the brand. It will never be quite the same as the version I fell in love with originally, but it is still something I will keep an eye on every season. I have posted some of the highlights of the collection below.

2nd, 4th, and 5th outfits. Shows ruffled vents and original textile use.

10th, 14th, and 18th outfits. Shows use of animal themes and creative use of leather. The reptilian jacket is the piece that reminded me of McQueen the most. I expect to see the pieced leather dress in all the high end magazines.

25th, 28th, and 29th outfits. Shows use of original textiles and over-the-top detailing. I also expect to see the butterfly dress in editorials all over.

33rd and finale outfits. Shows the McQueen sense of over-the-top evening looks and use of ruffles/feathers.

Spring 2011 Collection (Pictures from

Watch the video!


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