SARAH Burton has spent the past year looking up. Fascinated by the ever-changing skies outside of the Alexander McQueen headquarter windows in East London, the Creative Director looked further into the distance this season observing the beauty of the night sky and the cosmos.
Delving into the science of the stars, the same rigid methods were used to calculate and meticulously design the spring-summer 2023 menswear collection; a body of work structured with precision tailoring and emphasised through muted tones to reflect the evening glow that captivated the designer and her team.
Though the skies may have changed, there have been some unwavering themes across both women’s and menswear guiding the collections from one season to another.
Deconstruction and reconstruction are two methods that have been present since the start of the British brand, and this season cable-knitwear has been dissected with cut-outs across the chest and finished with silver ring detailing adding that daring attitude of punk to the traditional.
The harness motif returns for another season finding itself firmly attached in black leather to the chest and back of a tailored jacket that is accentuated with a cutaway waist. Leather also made an awaited comeback despite it being a spring-summer collection, and this time the material was reimagined and transformed into a drop-shoulder ivory shirt and black trouser ensemble.
There is comforting beauty in the continual return of these familiar aesthetic signifiers, but the true light of this collection is rooted in the suiting. Beginning his career on Savile Row, tailoring has always been the in-road of the designs for this House whether it be a dress or a two-piece since the founder’s very first day. And with Burton being inspired by the night it makes sense that she places a heavy focus on evening-wear with most of the looks honing in on multiple variations of the classic two/ three piece.
Particular highlights include the asymmetric tailored cape made from black barathea with a satin lapel and worn with matching trousers; and the oversized double-breasted tailored coat that was styled with a waistcoat that was finished with silver sequin and crystal embroidery of astral signs, even creeping down to the trousers.
Like most collections, they save the best until last and this was no different. The final look of the understated 29-look collection was comprised of a relaxed coat with cape sleeves, tonal satin lapels and sequins illustrating a shooting star from the front across the back, possibly hinting at the end of the night but most definitely sending the message that the ateliers have an unrivalled ability to craft magnificent suits worthy of a place at the top.
Taking the landscape and bringing it into clothes is nothing new, especially for Alexander McQueen but Burton’s ability season-upon-season to take the darkness and find its beauty is noteworthy and applaudable. With precision a constant, the formula of their favoured themes added with enhanced specialised detailing leaves you with the notion that SS23 is just another reappraisal of their meteoritic abilities within the cosmos.
by Imogen Clark