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Seán McGirr Introduces a New Chapter at Alexander McQueen

— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images

Fourteen years ago, when Alexander McQueen’s new creative director Seán McGirr was applying to fashion school, Alexander “Lee” McQueen’s final spring 2010 collection made a big impression on the Irish designer’s decision to study at McQueen’s alma mater, Central Saint Martins. Plato’s Atlantis—the first fashion show ever to be live-streamed—was a grand spectacle featuring models clad in reptile-patterned dresses and the infamous nine-inch armadillo heels stomping along to the live premiere of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” For the J.W. Anderson and Dries Van Noten alum—who was appointed head of the British luxury brand following the departure of McQueen’s longtime right hand, Sarah Burton—Saturday evening’s show was a full-circle moment.

For his debut, McGirr looked back further to one of McQueen’s earliest shoestring-budget London shows, “The Birds” spring 1995, which highlighted streamlined looks adorned with feathers and bird prints on a runway demarcated only by a painted road line. In doing so, McGirr reminded us that before the British brand came to represent the height of Paris Fashion Week splendor, it offered a more DIY take on opulence. The fall 2024 venue, a warehouse in the 13th arrondissement on the outskirts of Paris, felt like a throwback to the Birds show venue, a warehouse in London’s Kings Cross neighborhood known for hosting underground raves. The set was minimal, just two rows of grass bales wrapped in acid-yellow wool with leather binding for seating and a draped parachute backdrop. But there was attitude in spades, with models including Alexander McQueen OGs Frankie Rayder and Debra Shaw (who recently starred in McGirr’s teaser campaign) lurching along the concrete runway to an Enya soundtrack with movement direction by Ryan Chappell.

The Birds was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller of the same name, with car chases and roadkill serving as additional reference points for McQueen’s darkly romantic vision. McGirr added John Chamberlain’s crushed car sculptures and pictures of his own cracked iPhone screen to his fall 2024 mood board, which translated as automobile-shaped dresses in acid yellow, black, and blue steel. (McGirr knows his way around a body shop; his dad is a mechanic.) The collection’s key motif is the cross-bar—referencing a sculptural necklace from the Birds’ opening look—seen on earrings, cuffs, rings, and chokers in silver metal and crystal, courtesy of longtime Alexander McQueen jewelry collaborator Shaun Leane, as well as leather cross-bar bags and pouches.

— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images

The show opened with a wet-look drape dress in black laminated jersey that offered a more wearable update to the Birds’ clear cling-wrap dress, which had been worn with nothing but black briefs and bindings around the thighs to create a pencil skirt effect. Those ties turned up later, though, on wrapped jeans in black-and-blue stonewash denim with ribbons around the calves. There was a strong emphasis throughout on McQueen’s signature strong-shouldered, wasp-waisted suiting, including tailored wool mohair jackets and trousers embellished with smashed jet stone embroidery or T-bar chain back details. Jackets with bird tail-shaped peplums revealed just a sliver of skin on the back, offering a clever update on McQueen’s iconic ultralow-rise bumsters.

— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images
— Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images


Source: W Magazine

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