Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2020: The Very British Restrained Elegance of Modernism

Mixing the styles of British art nouveau and arts and crafts we saw Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton gave us the restrained elegance of modernism. As in most of her collections Burton sought inspiration in nature: the sinuous iris, the proud thistle and The Glasgow Rose. The windswept earth and Northern landscapes laid bare. The core of the earth and the treasures hidden beneath its surface. Metal ores: rich seams of gold, silver and copper running throughout. Mineralogy: crystal, agate, flint, rock; opaque and sculptural on the outside, jeweled and reflective within. The juxtaposition between sobriety and seduction, the raw and the refined, the textured and the smooth, the light and the dark, all contrasts true to the handwriting of the house of Alexander McQueen.In the construction of this of this collection masters balancing the houses signature tailoring with draping. The earthy colors of this collection also help keep the balance of this collection moving. There are many sell-able pieces in this collection from perfectly tailored leather to intricate knits high low midi skirts and a plethora of tailored suits. Everything that this collection has to offer screams buy me. It is part of the McQueen legacy of the last several years that I don’t like. I’ve been on a roller coaster with Sarah’s McQueen collections over the last couple of years. I do feel like she has let Kering commercialize the brand way too much. I miss the days of extravagance and creativity. I think one of the reasons I end up liking her Resort and Pre-Fall collections is because my expectations are for more commercial looks. I feel like Sarah definitely gave us her reinterpretations of some of the classics that she has made bank on. Sometimes I feel like with how commercial the label has become that Lee McQueen is rolling in his grave. While there are some beautiful looks in this collection I am still craving more avant garde glamour and drama.Now in spite of my feelings about how commercial McQueen has become that doesn’t mean that I don’t still love the brand. With the Pre-Fall 2020 collection Sarah Burton showed us more evening wear this season than ever before. There are an abundance of looks I would love to see brought to life on the red carpet. I’m going to spend the rest of this post talking about some of the looks I most want to see brought to life, and there will be more in an upcoming roundup post. I am starting with this silver and navy sleeveless midi dress which features intricate sequin and beading details. This gown reminds me a lot of Jeanine Lanvin ‘Robe de Style’ creations from the mid-1920’s meets medieval couture. I saw this dress and I was instantaneously in love with it. A bevy of names came into my mind when I started thinking about who would be the perfect person to bring it to life on the red carpet. Ultimately it was the thought of Natalie Portman shunning her Dior contract and bringing this gown to life that really spoke to me, especially if she styled it with a loose romantic updo, defined eyes, red lips, a pair of black Gianvito Rossi ‘Manhattan’ asymmetrical crystal embellished sandals, and Tiffany & Co. ‘Schlumberger Stars’ cluster earrings in platinum with round brilliant white diamonds. But I also think that it would be a great option for Lily Collins, Maisie Williams, Keira Knightley, and Rose Byrne as well. There were major gown moments in this collection that I definitely hope we see on the red carpets. This collection was first presented to editors and buyers at the end of last year. So I would imagine that the head of VIP PR for McQueen would have sent some of these looks as options for awards season. If not i am definitely ready for them to be optioned for the fall film festival season. We have been given confirmation that there will be socially distanced red carpets at both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals and these three gowns would be great options. First is the Nouveau pink double satin column gown which features an asymmetric cape and cabouchon embroidery around the neckline which I immediately pictured on Emily Blunt styled with a sleek updo, defined eyes light pink lips, a pair of matching pink Jimmy Choo ‘Mimi’ strappy sandals, and a selection of Lorraine Schwartz jewels including white diamond pear shaped drop earrings and white and pink diamond rings. One of the first looks from this collection that I was drawn to was the Carnelian red double satin draped dress with a single pleated billowing sleeve, big cuff, red leather wide belted waist with a large gold buckle, and slash detail. It definitely screams feminine meets masculine glamour and I feel like it definitely would be a great moment for Rosamund Pike. I think that the bold red gown would be best styled with thick defined eyes, red lips, a sleek updo, a pair of red suede Aquazzura ‘Aria’ pointed toe strappy pumps, the gold Alexander McQueen ‘Dome’ choker the gown was paired with in the gown in the lookbook, as well as MAJOR Bulgari jewels including 18k gold, white diamond, and ruby sunburst drop earrings, a vintage ‘Serpenti’ cuff watch bracelet in gold with rubies, emeralds and diamonds from 1962, and a vintage ‘Trombino’ ring made up of round cut white diamonds and a large cabochon ruby set in yellow gold. The third major gown moment from this McQueen collection that I would love to see brought to life on the red carpet is this silver beaded black tulle caped column gown which features a cutout on the neckline, sheer cape, and sheer skirt which I imagine being a major moment for Cara Delevingne. The supermodel and actress could definitely have a Best Dressed of the Year worthy moment on her hands with this gown with a shaved head, smokey eyes, nude glossy lips, black Christian Louboutin ‘So Me’ silver spike studded strappy sandals, and edgy yet glam white diamond Messika High Jewelry ‘Love Knot’ earrings. Nicole Kidman has been a McQueen devotee for many years and I absolutely adore seeing her bring the brands creations to life on the red carpet. So of course she popped into my mind as I was going through this collection. I saw this nave and silver geode print asymmetrical midi dress which features a single draped cold shoulder sleeve, silver metal choker neck, slashed keyhole neckline, and a wide navy leather belted waist with a large silver buckle and Nicole’s name screamed into my head. She is one of this years Toronto International Film Festival ambassadors and I would love to see her bring this look to the red carpet at the festival. Style it with a sleek mid-high ponytail, defined eyes, red lips, a silver Alexander McQueen crystal clasp metal box clutch, a pair of silver Sergio Rossi ‘sr1’ crystal embellished ankle strap sandals, and a beautiful set of Georgian paste cluster disc drop earrings and brooch (worn in the hair at the base of the ponytail) from Fred Leighton made from hand cut and polished glass, to look and sparkle like diamonds and I definitely would definitely have a glamorous moment on her hands. All in all I do actually love this collection. I can see it not just on many of the major red carpets, but also being woven into the McQueen woman’s wardrobe. From what I have seen not just in the lookbook, but also on the Alexander McQueen website, where this collection is already up for sale, I can definitely see how individual pieces play for sale. I think that everything from the jackets and gowns to the bags, jewelry, and shoes will be great sellers, but that doesn’t mean I’m still not craving more avant garde drama.

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