It is indeed a turning point for Sarah Burton. Now that Alexander McQueen is getting closer to its 23rd anniversary, planning to do “something different for the season,” exclusively at LFW, McQ by Alexander McQueen also has just been overrun by waves of innovations, yet keeping its typical juvenile, edgy and occasionally eccentric aesthetic. Overall, the McQ by Alexander McQueen pre-fall 2016 collection recalls some of the best rebellious teenagers’ chaotic dreams, in which London gothic aesthetics, Riot Grrrls and Teddy Boys-inspired motifs and even Maasai influences play a huge role, being from time to time intertwined with more ‘mature’ patterns, such as tailored pinstripe items, single-breasted jackets and sensual see-through fabrics.
Although being mainly black and grey, with just a hint of red, the McQ by Alexander McQueen pre-fall 2016 line-up also includes bare skin, as most of the pieces expose legs, shoulders and arms thanks to plunging lateral slits, sheer fabrics and reticular skirts. In the perfect Riot Grrrl tradition, most of the black pieces have been also enhanced with sleek and shimmery fabrics, literally standing out of the line-up (look at those sequined Palazzo pants!). Unsurprisingly, most of the Riot Grrrl-inspired fashions radiate clear Nineties vibes, as the subcultural movement, combining feminist and punk aesthetics, originally started in the early 1990s. Their biggest aim was expressing themselves as the men did, and that’s why the collection could not be regarded as ‘conventionally’ feminine, either.
This theme leads us to Burton’s Teddy Boys sources of inspiration, which ultimately give the collection a boyish turn. Being the first real rebel teenagers, the Teddy Boys subculture has always been fascinating and revisited throughout the decades, and is here to charm us once again. It dates back to the early ‘50s, when in the beginning it mainly featured drapes and drainpipe trousers. Then everything got customized with collars, cuffs and one-of-a-kind pocket trimmings, which gave a distinctive and unique style to all its members. Although being wealthy young men that mainly reinvented the Edwardian era style, Teddy Boys couldn’t be more different in style than Riot Grrls, and Burton managed to perfectly combine such different styles, adding well-tailored zebra-printed pony biker jackets to the collection, which surely give a touch of uniqueness to the entire line-up.
Then, to top it all off, she managed to add Maasai-inspired motifs, treating us to the long black crocheted vests, as well as long, sinuous sweaters, as she somehow linked London’s rebellious teenager subcultures to Maasai’s draped long garments. However, instead of exploring the Maasai’s colorful palette like the Tadashi Shoji pre-fall 2016 collection did, she reinvented such geometrical motifs in the perfect McQ way, namely in black and grey.