The return to Paris of the house of Alexander McQueen to present its menswear collection after a break of several years was a major victory for the runway season here. Especially so, given the bravura and beauty of this spring 2017 collection, one the finest ever produced by creative director Sarah Burton, presented in the Orangerie of the Luxembourg Gardens on Sunday night, the last of 17 days of European runway shows.
As ever, Burton ranged across British imagery and outfits – from 1950s rockers to Colonial dandies to Edwardian gents. Though no matter what she referenced, the clothes always looked distinctly McQueen.
When other runways are drowning in Perfecto leather jackets, Burton creates a black leather Perfecto coat with fur lining and adds not one or two more but several dozens of extra zippers for a totally cool look that cannot be copied. Her camel hair coat where the outside design mimicked the panels of the interior lining was a true tour de force. She also broke new ground with a trio of tight, sleeveless tuxedo shirts that became completely chic waistcoats for clubbing. Her broken pattern Prince of Wales coats were impeccable.
Ultimately this collection was largely men’s couture. Meaning that the sheer quality of the materials, the intricacy of the designs and beauty of embellishments all combined to guarantee that these are essentially impossible to copy; that the mass market global chains who live by “interpreting” runway fashion designers will not be able to do so with this brand.
Which is why this collection should be shown in Paris. With the greatest respect to the UK’s menswear season, the action, and above all the retailers, are all here in Paris and not in London.