Alexander McQueen revealed its AW23 collection during day 6 of Paris Fashion Week, and it was a confrontation of human anatomy. Challenging the natural form of the body, creative director Sarah Burton sent down looks that deconstructed silhouettes: necklines were exploding, shoulders were maximised and collars were twisted.
The collection opened with the iconic Naomi Campbell, wearing a corset jumpsuit that showed off the bust in a new way. The mainly monochrome collection featured an array of sharp tailored suits and ankle-length coats that were cinched at the waist, simultaneously accentuating natural curves as well as extending other members. We also saw an array of statement jewellery and open zipper heels that only added to the precision of the collection. Here are five key pieces you don’t want to miss out on.
THE HOBO BAG
First introduced last season, the jewelled Hobo bag made its return to the runway for AW23. The accessory is instantly recognizable with its knuckleduster-inspired closure and the emblematic skull motif, one used by Lee McQueen himself being inspired by the memento mori movement. The body of the bag is made out of geometric panels inspired by the face of the decorative rocks found on the knuckle handle, creating a new silhouette opposing the traditional rectangular handbag. Channelling London’s street culture, the Hobo bag juxtaposes the gritty urban aesthetic through its knuckle detailing and hardware shoulder strap with a softer side of beauty reminiscent of fine jewellery. The bag itself has a gothic feel to it which is instantly contradicted by its decorative floral elements, a theme that was seen throughout the collection.
THE SEAL BAG
As well as reimagining past designs, Alexander McQueen has introduced a brand new bag called the Seal. The accessory features the signature ‘A’ and ‘M’ initials laced in by a floral motif on the gold clasp detailing, as well as being sewn into the body of the bag. The piece is finished off with a hardware shoulder strap, seen held by hand by the models on the runway. On the runway, the accessory was introduced in a classic black colour as well as a deep red, matching the seasonal colours chosen by Sarah Burton. The Seal bag feels like a subtle reference to the flora further explored in the rest of the collection, while also exploring a more gothic aesthetic the brand is known for, again creating a juxtaposition between a softer and edgier look in one.
THE ORCHID SYMBOL
The orchid flower was a personal favourite of the original designer. While it was seen recreated statement jewellery, the orchid made an impactful appearance on garments as well. The flower was seen in a red print on a black trench coat as well as knitted in white on a black dress with collar bone cutouts. Once again playing with the idea of two contrasting ideas, Burton has merged delicacy and harshness by creating a floral motif seen powerful silhouettes, an ongoing design technique that was also seen on the bag accessories.
Keeping us warm during the colder seasons, Burton tapped into the knitwear trend, by creating pieces that gave off a powerful aura despite being made out of a softer fabric. One in particular was a black sleeveless sweater featuring two long straps that almost grazed the floor, shoulders pointing outwards, a mid-rise collar as well as vertical slits along the torso and back which gave fluidity and movement to the piece. Similar slits were seen on a white dress featuring the same design elements on the neck and shoulder, where the cutouts were focused on the lower-half of the garment. We also saw a red knitted dress that featured 3D protruding details, a trend that was seen on several knitted pieces, capitalising on Burton’s playful approach to form.
THE PURPLE LEATHER COAT
Coats came by the dozen this season, some with sharp shoulders while others had added volume on the arms. The one that stood out the most though was a purple leather number – one of only 3 purple looks. The ankle-length coat featured large lapels and was cinched at the waist by a matching belt with a silver rectangular buckle. The sleeves were scrunched up above the elbow to show off the matching opera-style leather gloves. It especially played with the proportions of the top half of the body, adding volume to the shoulder and arms to then reduce it on the waistline. This coat was sharply executed and commanded attention from the room, already classifying itself as a best-seller even before it hits the racks.
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