Alexander McQueen, a stunning spring/summer 2022 catwalk display in the clouds, returned home to London with a spectacular fashion bubble with views across London from the tops of car parks.
Part of the Kering family, the British fashion house shows at Paris Fashion Week. However, since the pandemic it has decided to release its collections digitally. Films were shot in the mud of the Thames and set against the stunning backdrop of Newhaven’s chalky white cliffs.
McQueen’s creative Director Sarah Burton was inspired to create McQueen’s spring/summer 2022 collection by the sky and its “ever changing, all-encompassing magnificence.” According to Burton, the artwork was shot from McQueen’s studio’s rooftop. This has “the most incredible views of the city, from Saint Paul’s Cathedral up to the London Eye.”
The sky’s magnificence was projected onto the show space. It is a transparent, reusable cloud-like structure that Smiljan Radic designed. It can be found on the roof of Tobacco Docks Yellow Park, Wapping, East London. The bubble sparkled as the sun tried to break through the clouds. This was striking contrast to John Gosling’s eerie storm music before the show began.
The entire production was visually stunning. From the perfect location high up in the clouds to view all of London’s skyline from the Shard and Gherkin to the Skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, to the intimate circular catwalk where models appeared from hidden stairs in the middle to the expressive prints and looser silhouettes to Naomi Campbell, the supermodel closing proceedings in style.
This show was stand-alone and filled with light and darkness. It was transformed from the chaos of the pandemic and unpredictable skies into brighter and happier times with sunny yellow tulle dresses, and vibrant pink tailored suits.
With pieces that balanced femininity and masculine details, the collection reflected the power of nature. There were floaty dresses with photos of sunrises, blue sky and clouds as well as tailored coats and shirts with cloudlike sleeves. Wind-blown-inspired trench coats featured voluminous parachute sleeves. Crystal “raindrop” embroidery was found on all items, from jackets and dresses to dresses and skirts to boots.
Burton explained this in the show notes. “We observed the weather and recorded the formation and colouration clouds from morning to nightfall. We also documented changing patterns, from clear skies to more turbulent skies. This led me to storm-chasing.
“I love McQueen’s idea of McQueen women being storm chasers, and of the storm chasing qualities uniting passionately individual characters who wear the clothes. They share the same universe, and the clothes were inspired by them. Storm chasing is more than just the beautiful views. It’s about feeling the excitement and mystery of the unknown.”
Burton’s spring/summer 2022 collection is a contrast, like the changing sky. It features feminine, corseted and sequin-heavy dresses, as well as off-the shoulder and off-the -shoulder styles. Burton also offers a variety of accessories, including zipped and buckled detailing and boxy tailored suits.
Highlights included sequinned, shard-rain embroidered tank dresses and an off-the shoulder taffeta gown with a moody skycloud print. A look that combined the feeling of working from home and the new ‘going out,’ was a white cotton-jersey sweatshirt paired with an exploded skirt with crystal raindrop embroidery and cropped.
Naomi Campbell closed out the show in a single-breasted tailored jacket featuring crystal raindrop embroidery and a strapless corset dress with an adjustable skeletal waist.
It was the McQueen’s first catwalk show for 18 months and their first in London in 20 years. It was worth the wait.
You can watch the whole show below.