Introduction about the Designer
Alexander McQueen was a renowned fashion designer who established his own label. Throughout his career, he won several awards, including “International Designer of the Year” and “British Designer of the Year”. In 1992, the designer established his fashion house (Vaidyanathan, 2017). In 1996, the designer was appointed as the head designer at Givenchy. Alexander McQueen quit Givenchy in 2001 due to creativity issues ("Design Process", 2017). In 2005, the fashion house entered into collaboration with Puma for designing footwear. In 2008, the designer launched an online shopping store. The fashion house launched a reasonably-priced clothing line for both men and women ("Design Process", 2017). This line was named as McQ. This clothing line targeted the young and fashion-conscious individuals. The designer died in 2010 ("Design Process", 2017). Alexander McQueen’s client list included several celebrities including Prince Charles. The runway collections presented by the designer were unconventional. Before his death, the designer showcased his spring/summer collection (2010) during Paris Fashion Week ("Design Process", 2017). The inspiration for this collection was “nature” and “theory of evolution”. The ready-to-wear garments for women include dresses, tops, jackets, pants, skirts etc. The menswear includes shirts, t-shirts, jackets, jeans etc. Bags, shoes, and accessories are available for both men and women (Kim, 2011).
The dramatic designs by Alexander McQueen have helped in the evolution of fashion industry. His bold and imaginative designs are an inspiration for young fashion designers. His creations reflected his fascination towards nature. He was known for defying stereotypes (Harris, 2017). Alexander McQueen was the first designer to use models that did not fit the conventional image. He once used a double amputee for his runway show. His fashion shows were based on diverse themes. Several collections were based on social, political and environmental issues. One of his fashion shows was based on the political atmosphere in Britain (Vaidyanathan, 2017). Alexander McQueen was known for his innovative prints and razor-sharp suits. He introduced high-heeled footwear to the runway. The dresses designed by Alexander McQueen created a sense of fantasy. His suits were cleverly cut to give an impeccable look. The designs showcased by Alexander McQueen always reflected his rebellious streak. The trousers showcased by the designer were referred to as “bumsters” (Kim, 2011). These trousers were responsible for the emergence of low waist jeans. Though controversial, the trend became widespread. Motifs and skulls were prominent in the dresses designed by Alexander McQueen (Kim, 2011). Fashion-forward people have been seen carrying scarf’s and handbags with skull prints. The frock coat is Alexander McQueen’s signature design. The designer was known for his innovation in making the fashion shows dramatic and extravagant. His shows were known for collaborating technology with fashion. Several celebrities have worn Alexander McQueen designs for their red carpet appearances (Kim, 2011). The designer always introduced a theatrical element to his fashion shows. Birdcages, feathers, wings and antlers used to be a part of the catwalk (Vaughan, 2017) . Alexander McQueen fashion shows are colorful, innovative, unconventional and larger-than-life. The creativity of the fashion house is not restricted to clothes. The make-up and accessories are an integral part of fashion (Harris, 2017). The celebrity list includes Kate Moss, Eva Green, Cheryl Cole, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Cameron Diaz, Lindsay Lohan and Camilla Belle (Vaughan, 2017).
Contribution to the Fashion Industry
Outfits are designed by the fashion house in the London studio. Alexander McQueen had mastered the art of tailoring. A lot of work is required for presenting a runway show. The several stages involved in showcasing a collection include a selection of concept, sketching of designs, selection of fabric and fitting sessions (Popov, 2013). Every fashion show has an inspiration. Alexander McQueen drew his inspiration from several issues, people, and places. After selecting a particular theme, research was done by a team of people (Harris, 2017). This research helped to understand the relation between the physical interpretation of the theme and fashion. After conducting the research, the fashion designer would draw sketches for outfits to be worn by models. Alexander McQueen used to attach the sample of fabric with the sketch. After sketching several designs, Alexander McQueen used to shortlist the designs to be showcased on the runway. After short listing, the sketching was done again in a more detailed manner. The choice of fabrics and dimensions were finalized. Then the fabrics were created (Popov, 2013). Alexander McQueen used to cut and stitch the outfit according to the model selected for wearing that dress. While stitching and pinning the outfits, a team of apprentices used to assist him. They used to provide him the required tools and equipment (Steele, 2013). They also used to provide their feedback about the design. Once a rough outfit was created, it was handed over to a professional for cutting and sewing. Finally, the dress was worn by the selected model (Harris, 2017). For creating the desired look, a team of professionals used to work on hair styling and make-up. Accessories are used to create a dramatic look. The designer used to pay a lot of attention towards the final package to be presented in front of the runway viewers. This included the physical appearance of the models, runway set, soundtrack, lighting arrangement and stage gimmicks (Popov, 2013).
The fashion house showcased its latest collection for spring/summer 2017. The spring/ summer collection was exquisite. The collection was inspired by the Shetland Isles. The creative director was mesmerized by the landscapes, birds, wildflowers and beaches (Popov, 2013). The runway was bumpy and covered in rugs in order to depict the rugged coastal landscapes of Shetland. The carpets were placed in an overlapping manner while drawing inspiration from Shetland’s traditional wedding. The collection started with maxi dresses with long sleeves. The dresses had intricate work of Shetland lace. The tops were made in black leather with silver studs. The dresses had floral prints with puff sleeves (Popov, 2013). The long dresses made up of wool lace looked delicate and stunning. The collection included voile dresses. Flowers were embroidered on dresses. The models also wore cropped sweaters and black leather jackets. Patchwork jackets caught the attention of fashion enthusiasts. The collection also included pant suits in black-and-white. The finale gowns were all-black.
Product Development Process
Image 1: Lace dress with long sleeves and leather bustier
Image 2: Well-tailored pantsuit with edgy boots
Image 3: Sheer dress worn by a model
Image 4: Gown with puff sleeves
The fashion house showcased its autumn/ winter ready-to-wear collection (2017) in March (Vaughan, 2017). The collection was inspired by Cornwall and its creative local communities. During the visit to Cornwall, the creative team came across spiritual trees: “Cloutie”. Their branches were decorated with vibrant-hued ribbons flying in the air. The collection saw models wearing outfits with unfinished edges (Vaughan, 2017). The edges had trails of colorful threats resembling the spiritual trees. The collection included leather dresses, wide trousers, and cropped jackets. Inspired by the needlework done during medieval period, the dresses had V-stitches at the fabric seams. The dresses had patchwork and embroidery.
Image 5: Model wearing wide trousers
Image 6: Leather outfit with trailing colored threads resembling colorful ribbons
Feathers and leather were the signature materials used by Alexander McQueen for his runway shows. The designer was known for using both natural and synthetic materials for his fashion collections. The natural materials reflected his love for nature. The designer did not refrain from using the animal skin for his shows (Vaughan, 2017). He designed outfits using horsehair, snakeskin, feathers, leathers, shells and gazelle horns. One of the creations presented at a fashion show was made from mussel shells. Alexander McQueen often used polyester, silk, wool, nylon and cotton for creating outfits. The designer had a keen interest in the technological aspect of fabrics. This included the production of striped silk and multi-colored lace. The combination of material used by the designer was very innovative (Harris, 2017). The most commonly used textile techniques include lace making and embroidery. In spring/ summer collection (1996), the designer used an interesting technique known as spattering (baker, 2017). This technique involves the coating of fiber/ fabric surface with tiny metallic particles. Spattering was used with silk for creating an outfit. The metallic look complemented the fluidity of silk to create an amazing look (baker, 2017) (Harris, 2017). This combination was often used by the designer to create a “space” effect. For highlighting the curves, the designer used leather and plaster of Paris. The Givenchy collection had embroidery with golden thread; gold is woven into a jacket and Rose flower petals embedded in a sheer fabric. For one of the collections, a headwear was made up of tin cans and trash bags. The autumn/ winter collection (2014) showcased by the fashion house had an intelligent usage of fabric, fur, and feathers. Velvet ribbons were used in the collection (baker, 2017). Large coats were covered by feathers. The outfits were designed in a manner that it was difficult to distinguish between fur and shredded fabric. Tartan fabric has been used in several collections. Tartan was a representation of Scottish heritage.
Following is the list of fashion shows to be held by Alexander McQueen in 2017
Alexander McQueen autumn/ winter menswear (2017): 16th Jan 2017
The collection was showcased in Milan
Alexander McQueen Fall autumn/ winter ready-to-wear (2017): 6th March 2017
The collection was showcased in Paris
Alexander McQueen Menswear spring/ summer (2017): 13th June 2017
Alexander McQueen cruise (2017): 23rd June 2017
Baker, i. (2017). Fashion Blog / Remembering Alexander McQueen by COLOURlovers :: COLOURlovers. Colourlovers.com. Retrieved from https://www.colourlovers.com/fashion/blog/2010/04/22/remembering-alexander-mcqueen
Design Process. (2017). Alexander mcqueen. Retrieved from https://alexandermcqueenfashiondesigner.weebly.com/design-process.html
Harris, S. (2017). Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2017 Ready-To-Wear show report. British Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.vogue.co.uk/shows/spring-summer-2017-ready-to-wear/alexander-mcqueen
Kim, S. (2011). Mix & Match Fashion Trend Expressed in the Ready to Wear Collection - Focused on Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Comme des Garçonson -. Korean Journal Of Human Ecology, 20(1), 155-168.
Popov, M. (2013). Global fashion - fashion without borders: Savage beauty of Alexander McQueen. Kultura, (138), 227-236.
Steele, V. (2013). Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. Fashion Theory, 17(4), 419-430.
Vaidyanathan, R. (2017). BBC News - Six ways Alexander McQueen changed fashion. News.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved from https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511404.stm
Vaughan, H. (2017). Alexander McQueen: A Legacy. Worn Through. Retrieved from https://www.wornthrough.com/2010/02/alexander-mcqueen-lost-designer
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