The return to the roots of Sarah Burton’s creative genius for the Alexander McQueen f/w 23 collection
Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton’s Autumn Winter 2023 show in Paris was an authentic celebration of sartorial style and innovative constructions. After two presentations in London and one in New York, the brand returned to the French capital with a co-ed collection that brought attention back to the brand’s roots: tailoring, proportions, lines and construction. Creative Director Sarah Burton said that this collection was an exploration of beauty and power through clothing, with a focus on cut, proportion and silhouettes. Fashion, cut to the body and inspired by the body itself, was presented as a classic subverted, an upside down of style and innovation. The fashion show featured dresses and bodysuits dominated by the colour black, with corset dresses that hypnotically enhanced femininity. Leather, fabric and tailored wool merged into creations that embraced a multiplicity of bodies, demonstrating the mastery of combining sensuality and craftsmanship. There was no lack of injections of light and colour in the collection, with floral prints embellishing some of the garments. Bold constructions alternated with clean lines and linear silhouettes, creating a fascinating and daring contrast. Amongst the most iconic pieces was the total black sweetheart neckline catsuit worn by Naomi Campbell, who led a show of impeccable black suits, white shirts and black ties, and thin stripes cut into jackets, testifying to a controlled precision and tension of perversity, where nothing was as it seemed. Sarah Burton revealed that her inspiration was the vision of the tailors as they marked their cuts on the fabric, and this image influenced the broken, bold lines in some of the garments. The references to McQueen culture were also evident in the runway space, with the sound of the music box from the 1998 ‘Joan of Arc’ collection played backwards, and a video that reinterpreted Eadweard Muybridge’s Victorian photography. One of the most surprising elements of the collection was the exploration of human anatomy through Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, which led to the creation of sections of knitted garments sewn at the hips, giving them a new and sinister context. Secret references to blood and viscera were transformed and sublimated into asymmetrical ruffles and prints that looked like giant orchid flowers in some places, and drawings of dissected corpses in others. In the evening gown section, the Alexander McQueen f/w 23 collection saw flashes of fiery red and otherworldly silver, with a black dress with shaded beading that looked almost like a reincarnation of Alexander McQueen’s iconic ruby red Joan of Arc gown. Sarah Burton proved once again that she is among the best designers capable of combining tradition and innovation, taking Alexander McQueen into the future, without ever forgetting the brand’s roots and heritage. A dramatic, strong and versatile collection that offers endless possibilities of expression for all gender identities, far from the theatrical and excessive costumes that have characterised fashion in recent years. It would not be surprising if the most renowned stylists, including Cate Blanchett’s, were already looking for garments from this extraordinary collection. Come and discover the best of Alexander McQueen on Michele Franzese Moda.