Sarah Burton’s starring role as designer of the Royal Wedding gown may have been kicked from the headline’s by Kate Middleton’s rise to mother of the new Prince George of Cambridge but women are still rushing to Alexander McQueen’s collections in unprecedented numbers.
The brand’s sales have seen 25 per cent growth since the Cambridge nuptials and show no sign of slowing. The royal connection may have gone slightly to Burton’s head if the new Fall Winter collection now arriving in Asia is any guide. The Marie-Antoinette styling and Tudor ruffs have the scent of a decadent royal court with maybe the teeniest hint of the guillotine and scaffold. Of course, McQueen’s fame as a house having been built on its founder’s fondness for skulls we must expect a certain dark element in all their design work.
There is something about McQueen’s work both under Burton and Lee that is always hinting at mortality and the importance of living each minute to the aesthetic max. The latest women’s collection reminds me of a tombstone in Norwich cathedral that reads “Time was I stood where thou dost now/And viewed the dead as thou dost me/Before long you’ll be as low as me/While others stand and gaze at thee.” This is not a morbid preoccupation, rather a way of laughing at death and what better way to do that than dress in some of the most gorgeous clothes that fashion has ever made.
The Alexander McQueen Fall-Winter 2013 women’s wear collection is available at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong’s IFC and at the Elements mall in Tsim Sha Tsui.