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Alexander McQueen

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DENIZENS OF THE DEEP

Coinciding with the United Nations’ global conference on climate change last week, several designers have woven an environmental theme into their collections. While some, like Vivienne Westwood, voiced a protest with written placards, McQueen was more subtle and conceptual with his Plato’s Atlantis collection. He imagined the effects on the human race if the polar ice caps melted, and began thinking about reptiles and sea creatures. The mirroring digital prints used in his fractal and wood grain collections were back, but this time the kaleidoscopic motifs seemed to come from exotic fish and tortoises, and placed embellishments were used to create dimensional, life-like scales on top of the reptilian prints. Mostly focused on short dresses with molded or draped volumes at the shoulder and hip, the collection also included elegant, hourglass-shaped suits — one in luxurious glazed stingray with undulating panels on the pants, and another in slick black leather with the skirt slashed into a thick fringe. McQueen offered a bit of his magic with a voluminous top fashioned from iridescent organza embedded with monofilament netting, worn over white iridescent pavé-sequined leggings, for an effect that conjured a floating jellyfish.  Braided lizard-like horns and curvaceous sky-high shoes with pearlized surfaces finished off the water-world look. The theme of man’s adversarial relationship to his own development was reiterated at McQueen in an unexpected way: at the news of Lady Gaga’s new single premiering for his collection, SHOWstudio — the fashion website that was to broadcast the show live — crashed, in an ironic punctuation of his point.

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