Alexander McQueen returned to New York, for just one night, with several large piles of sharp dirt and wood chips.
Dumped into a Brooklyn warehouse and then sculpted into high hills, the rubble became the setting for the label’s fall 2022 show, titled “Mycelium” after the threaded fungal networks that make up mushrooms. grow.
Of course there were mushrooms in the collection, such as one printed in chartreuse on a poster sent to the guests with their invitations. Mushrooms appeared in vibrant colors on torn oversized knits, growing freaky tendrils through single strands of flowing mohair. They also wore asymmetrical sleeveless dresses, piled on top of each other in a psychedelic melange of crystals, beads and sequins.
But these colors (acid green, candied yellow, Cheetos orange) were more natural than their hues suggested, inspired by photos of fungi, said Sarah Burton, the creative director.
Backstage after the show, Mrs. Burton on the mushroom’s duality: “It heals,” she said, but it can also be poisonous. “There is a danger in it.”
When asked if she’s considering using mushroom leather — several major fashion companies support Mylo, a leather alternative made from mycelium — Ms. Burton said no. (There were several all-leather looks, including a banana-colored strapless dress and a deconstructed trench coat in blood red.)
“We’re actually testing it, the mycelial leather,” Ms. Burton said. “But I didn’t want to do it until we really have enough product to talk about as a story.”
She said “80 to 85 percent” of the 41 looks in the collection used recycled fabrics, including polyester. The show’s dirt set would also be recycled, donated to an undisclosed farm and art project.
Some ideas have also been recycled from iconic McQueen collections. Two sharply tailored suits were imprinted with the blurred outlines of a human body, like the shadows permanently etched onto stone surfaces after an atomic explosion – mushroom images of a different kind.
The print on the suits is made from “a shadow of a moving person we shot in the studio,” Ms Burton said, but it also “nodded” to an archive McQueen look: a white dress that had been daubed with black and yellow paint. During that show in the spring of 1999, the label’s late founder Alexander McQueen orchestrated two robots to spray-paint the model, Shalom Harlow, in front of a live audience.
While McQueen has some history in New York – been here twice in the 1990s, for shows now commemorated in fashion history – there was no apparent reason to return now, a week after the end of Paris Fashion Week (where the label usually shows), other than to assist his US customer base after a while. At the end of 2020, the company opened a new store in SoHo.
“It’s great to be here to talk to all these women we dress,” said Ms. Burton, who attended Tuesday’s show, Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright, the “Black Panther” stars, and Helena Christensen. , the supermodel .
And New York’s momentum had some impact on the collection, Ms. Burton said. It was there in her roomy cut: the bandage dress cut down one leg with cutouts, the blazer cut vertically down the back, the cigarette pants cut vertically from mid-thigh to just below the knee. True to a New Yorker’s wardrobe, all of these pieces were black.
“It’s an exciting city,” Mrs. Burton said. “It is a creative city. It’s not a fast city, but it’s a fast city, and I wanted it to have pace and energy.”