If you’re feeling a slight sense of deja vu, that’s understandable. Yes, the Alexander McQueen fall 2022 menswear lookbook did drop just five days ago, and yes, the spring 2023 lookbook is out today. Over the past few pandemic years, even the best of us have felt like time has collapsed in on itself, but it’s still a remarkably quick back-to-back. (The rationale, it’s worth noting, is to realign the house’s menswear offering with the broader schedule following previous, pandemic-related disruptions.)
Despite the slightly disorientating timing, Sarah Burton’s vision for the McQueen man this season was as richly realized as ever, with the designer noting that after the thrill of her New York show in March, she felt inclined to dial things back a little. And if that collection was planted solidly in the earth—packed as it was with mushroom motifs, hempy frayed knits, and a palette of burnt oranges and molten reds—here, Burton looked to the skies. The collection’s muted palette featured twilight shades of dusty pinks and blues, while references to the cosmos and the night sky abounded; the most arresting details being sequins and crystals embroidered to form comets and astral patterns across the lapels of jackets, and in a particularly ravishing final look, covering the entire back of a coat.
It wouldn’t be a McQueen collection, however, without a subversive edge. Accessories came punctured with metal eyelets, while cable knits and cardigans were artfully slashed down the sides, the former seamed back together with silver rings. A series of blazers with cut-out details and harnesses—some in leather, others decorated with crystals—added a quietly playful touch of kink. (That all of those harnesses were detachable felt like a particularly fun detail: you could wear it for a night at the opera, before cinching yourself into the leather straps to hit up a less salubrious destination afterwards.)
Still, as always with Burton’s work, it’s the sheer technical mastery of it that felt most intoxicating. Tuxedo jackets cut from black grain de poudre and asymmetric waistcoats in wool gabardine fit so impeccably you can’t help but reach out and touch them. Even when in more quotidian fabrics, like a denim pullover shirt or a patched bomber jacket in lilac, these are clothes with palpably luxurious heft. Ironically, that it should be released so close to the previous collection only underscores that no matter the season—and no matter what gently disruptive tweaks she brings to the mix—the beauty of Burton’s menswear lies in its timelessness.
BY LIAM HESS
July 1, 2022