If Alexander McQueen’s F/W 09 collection (Alexander McQueen F/W 09 Mens Slideshow) owes a debt to anyone it is to costume designers Sandy Powell and Milena Canonero. Their work in the films Gangs of New York and A Clockwork Orange serve as the very directly referenced basis for a typically dramatic collection. Cinema muses aside McQueen’s vision for F/W harks back to the aggressive world of 19th century boxing and it’s codas. Given the uber masculine and villainous inspirations behind the collection it’s only fitting that the clothing be both dark and foreboding. A nefarious army of male models stomped down the McQueen catwalk in black suits and bowler hats. Their powdered pale faces and red rimmed eyes gave them the appearance of modern day droogs but their clothing was decidedly genteel.
Every ounce of McQueen Saville Row precision was on full display within his F/W showing- from the moulded to the body slim cut suits to the finely wrought leathers, the cuts were impeccable. Precision is the keyword though, each piece is a deliberate action, these are not clothes for the haphazard roguish sorts that inhabit the silver screen’s darkened alleys. In spite of McQueen’s best efforts the look still is too tailored and neat for a real Bill the Butcher to ever consider – though add a years worth of grime and perhaps he would take on fantastic leather apron.
Styling aside the pieces represent the kind of pristine dandyism more suited to lady killers as opposed to actual murderers. Luxe lovers will be pleased to note the superb quality of the materials – from shearlings to silks, the finery is almost overwhelming. As the show progresses – moving from day to night with quickening pace the ensembles become brooding and sensual. The hard planes of scuplted muscle, the oversized cod pieces, jackets spattered with blood? The imagery is sexy but it’s tempered with the right amount of ultraviolence. These touches of hedonism keep us on our toes and prevent the familar film allusions from ever feeling like repetitious.