Alexander McQueen Returns To New York For The First Time Since 1999, Bringing Hope & Healing With It

by Freya Drohan

In her show notes, Sarah Burton expressed her elation at being back in New York—”a city that has always been close to our hearts”—and the industry sure was happy to welcome the brand back for its first runway outing since 1999. The longtime Alexander McQueen creative director presented her Fall Winter ’22 collection at Aggers Fish Building in Brooklyn yesterday evening; a vast industrial setting that would prove to be the perfect backdrop for a collection embedded in grit, resilience, hope, community, and the sweet spot where the past meets the future.

While Burton has always been fond of using nature as a reference, this time she dug deeper; specifically right down to the roots that bind the world together. Titled Mycelium, the offering translated the very definition of the term—the root-like structure of a fungus consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae—onto fringed bird of paradise-hued embellished gowns, the fibers that dangled from multi-colored oversized knits, and the torso of a crystallized dress that looked half like branches and half like lungs. “Mycelium connects even the rooftop of the tallest skyscraper to the plants, to the grass, to the ground, to animals and to human beings. Mycelium has the most profound, interconnecting power, relaying messages through a magical underground structure, allowing trees to reach out to each other when either they or their young need help or are sick,” the designer further explained in her show notes.

An urban edge was evident to the collection, as always, via tough girl leather, androgynous boxy suiting, sharp tailoring, and accessories not to be messed with. The decision to host the show at a stripped back, wide and airy open space but to only a small crowd in attendance felt fittingly vast but intimate too. As for melding the past with the current day, it was impossible not to see the spray painted-esque suits and not be reminded of the iconic moment where Shalom Harlow’s white dress was splattered in color by robots during one of Lee McQueen’s most famous shows. Beyond those graffiti-fied suits, other tailored numbers and ruffled frocks came in vivid highlighter hues of lime green, orange, and lemon—bringing to mind the type of shades one might see if they were on actual mushrooms, like those that danced around the promotional videos for the show. And hey, who doesn’t associate a Brooklyn warehouse with shrooms these days!

As for the future, the brand doubled down on its commitment to sustainability, with reportedly 85% of the collection derived from upcycled materials. Beyond the visual references to interconnectivity, community, and things that bind us, it was a presentation of powerful clothes that were, at their core, simply beautiful to look at; whether it was Kaia Gerber’s manus x machina sparkling mini or one of the many tempting outerwear suggestions. Garments that make us want to catch a seat mate’s eye and smile in a shared moment of appreciation.

See the full collection below:

 

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