PFW: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN F/W 2014

By this time tomorrow, I will have watched over 200 fashion shows in the past month and written reviews for over 180 of them. Most of those shows I will have watched just like everyone else, seeing the designs for the first time as they come down the runway. However, being the geek that I am, I am always keeping an eye on social media for inside and backstage hints and a good 30 minutes before the McQueen show started someone leaked Pat McGrath’s makeup look. We’ve seen some interesting eye brow treatments before, but these … sigh.

Here’s the thing: saying you don’t like something from Alexander McQueen makes one about as popular as passing gas in a crowded elevator. McQueen has never been more “in” and those who speak ill of Sarah Burton’s creations must simply not know what they’re talking about, right? I mean, who in their right mind would do such a thing?

Christina Binkley, fashion writer for the Wall Street Journal, tweeted: “Another dark Elizabethan collection from McQueen. They’re stuck in a rut.” A few minutes later she added, “Alexander McQueen has lost its sense of raw woman power.” One of the reasons I follow Ms. Binkley is that she’s honest. In this case, she’s also very correct.

You may commence disagreeing with me now.

Here’s the crux of the matter: What made Alexander McQueen so incredible was that he was original, well outside of the box, ignored trends, and came up with something completely different season after season. Since his untimely death, Sarah Burton has tried to fill the incredibly immense space he left, but as we pass from season to season more people are beginning to doubt whether she can keep up the admittedly difficult tradition McQueen established. Unfortunately, this evening’s show feels more like the fourth sequel in a movie franchise that was never an Oscar contender in the first place.

So, what do we have here? As Ms. Binkley mentions, we have somber toned Elizabethan looks, which at this point are on the verge of being labeled old school … again. The exaggerated collars, billowy sleeves with lace cuffs, and the whole pinafore look are elements we’ve seen enough times that little changes to detail no longer matter. McQueen would have completely twisted the silhouettes inside out and upside down by now. How many more pale faces do we need? And what is up with those  [expletive deleted] eye brows?

As if to make the collection even more difficult to endure, Ms. Burton adds enough fur pelt just in what appeared on the catwalk to have obliterated an entire zoo. Hannibal’s army didn’t wear this much fur when they crossed the Alps, and yes, these bulky fur laden designs do remind me way too much of those ancient warriors. Being seasonally appropriate is one thing, but high end fashion and mountain trekking are not terribly compatible. Wearing these fur pieces is going to require the extinction of too many animals and the end result is the wearer is going to look fat … and silly.

Okay, as we’ve done before, remove the fashion from the hype and what do we have here that really works? I mean, seriously, there has to be something, right?

Well … uhm … the silver acorn hand treatments are rather cool. Oh, and the lace-up boots are nice.

Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

I have always been a fan of both Alexander McQueen and Sarah Burton. Sarah is an incomparably creative designer in her own right and I feel bad that I’m not more stoked about her collection. This is almost like talking ill about a friend, but … no, it just doesn’t work this season.

I’m sorry. There’s always September.

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