Alexander McQueen Returns To London With An Ode To The City’s Prettiest Tough Girls

by Freya Drohan

In an airtight rooftop bubble set high above East London, Sarah Burton showcased what she’s been dreaming of for Spring Summer 2022—and the clue was for the audience to look upwards through the clear structure. Her latest Alexander McQueen offering sought inspiration from the ever-changing skies, both moody and clear, and images that her design team had captured of swirling cloud patterns against city backdrops.

Celebrating the brand’s return to London after decamping to Paris Fashion Week for several years—and the return to a physical runway setting—the designer had plenty up her sleeve. To the trance-y beats of Massive Attack and Daniel Avery mixed with the sounds of nature, a multi-generational cast of models stomped through the space in the silhouettes we’ve come to expect: snatched bustiers offset with voluminous skirts, zippered blazers and outerwear, tough-as-nails leather that still manages to look soft and delicate, and tulle skirts that seemed like they’d blend in just as well at a dingy pub in Dalston as they would on the red carpet at the Royal Albert Hall.

Most looks came paired with iterations of the chunky ‘Rave’ boot (Rave/Rave Derby/Rave Chelsea), white leather sneakers, and sculptural polished silver jewelry that you wouldn’t want to mess with. Others came with black mesh booties embellished with crystals and rhinestones—detailing which also transformed blazers, cropped sweaters, tinsel fringe dresses, and the finale ensemble, which was worn with aplomb the ultimate Brit It Girl, Naomi Campbell. Indeed, no one does that pretty-but-punk juxtaposition quite as well as Londoners, so between the styling and the model casting, it felt like a fitting ode to the city where it all began.

While Burton has always been inspired by natural elements, this time it was a journey upwards from the river banks to the sky. “I love the idea of the McQueen woman being a storm chaser, of the qualities of storm chasing uniting the passionately individual community of characters wearing the clothes,” she said in her show notes. “They inhabit the same universe and the clothes are inspired by and made for them. Storm chasing is not only about the beauty of the views but also a sense of mystery and excitement–about embracing the fact that we can’t ever be sure of what might happen next.”

In fashion, no one is ever quite sure what might happen next—alas, luckily Burton is a creative director whose consistency and meticulous execution never waivers.

See the full collection below:

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