5 Standout Moments From Alexander McQueen's London Homecoming

Photo: Rex.
On Sunday evening, Sarah Burton brought her fall/winter 2016 collection for Alexander McQueen back to the brand’s home, London, where the brand is showing for the first time in a long time.

Earlier this month, Burton explained her relocation choice to Porter magazine, saying: “McQueen is fundamentally British and London is where it’s based and where we all live and work…There’s a freedom of expression in London that makes it feel right.” And it was clear that this homecoming (held six years and eleven days after Lee [Alexander] McQueen died) took the idea of self-expression quite seriously.

The show was set in a venue where Burton worked with McQueen himself 20 years ago, and the latest collection seemed like somewhat of a continuation of the unapologetically feminine offerings from last season, with a plethora of pink lips, flowers, and butterflies — typical, almost saccharine symbols of womanhood. This time, however, they were toughened up, embroidered onto the lines of black leather coats and deep V-neck dresses, and transformed into badges of honor. There were hints and nods to hardness with fetishistic netting, leather bustiers, and heavy-buckled trousers and chains. Burton offset the balance by playing with masculine tailoring — deconstructing tuxedo jackets, for example, so that the lapels were slung over the chest like Miss World sashes.

And while there was a lot of black, the mood was overwhelmingly pretty: Billowing dresses came in delicate chiffons, satins, and lace in light colors, and the final looks were full-length gowns, encrusted with crystals. Models even wore princess jewels and tiaras in their hair.

Though there wasn’t the theater or provocation one might hope for with a comeback show, there was a lot to take in — particularly the five standouts below. The London production was, however, sheer beauty at its finest — a womenswear collection desirable enough to dream about, and unattainable enough to still feel like a dream.

1. The Butterflies, Everywhere
If you recall McQueen's fall 2006 or spring 2008 collections (the latter of which paid homage to Isabella Blow), you know that butterflies are not a new motif for the house. But the iteration of the fluttery insect this time around was less three-dimensional (with the exception of the final look); instead, they sat printed on coats and separates, and hid amongst the lace of minidresses and gowns.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.
2. The Fancy-Pants Duvet
The second-to-last outfit of the presentation featured a sheer, heavily embellished floor-length dress — covered up by the most duvet-like off-the-shoulder coat, ever. And while the embroidery is absolutely gorgeous, we just can't help but think of how cozy this topper is.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.
3. The Dali-Style Embellishments
Surrealist clocks, butterflies, and lips decorated the black jackets and vests from the first half of the show, adding an additional artistic element to these already dramatic pieces.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.
4. The Underwear-As-Clothing
Bras as tops? We love the juxtaposition of a lacy undergarment peeking out from underneath a more covered-up, structured silhouette, like a black pantsuit or longline blazer.
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.
5. The Furry Shoes
Two words: Fuzzy. Feet. Need we say more?
Photo: Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

More from Designers


R29 Original Series