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McQueen: The Whalers Commeth

Godfrey Deeny
January 19th, 2010 @ 10:50 AM - Milan

Rifling through United Kingdom traditions and history has always been a key element in Alexander McQueen’s vision of fashion, and it was again this season when the designer’s inspiration came from whalers and seafarers for his Fall 2010 men’s collection, shown on Monday, Jan. 18, in Milan.

The invitation was a photo of rocker Sting, bearded and looking directly in the camera as he sported a speckled gray tweed look that later appeared on the catwalk of McQueen’s Milan show space, where the runway show was staged in an intimate setting.

The London-based designer sent out lots of rugged, cable sweaters, or ideal for a voyage to either the North or South Pole. Yet, McQueen’s fashion is never literal, so he captures the freezing conditions of the Arctic with ice prints that almost make you chilled just looking at them.

The designer’s dark vision was underlined by the floor of the show space, a graphic mélange of skull and bones.

But McQueen, being of Scottish origin, is always more focused on the Celtic periphery than English center, so this collection actually had an Irish title, “An Bailitheoir Cnamh,” or The Bone Collector.

The designer again showed suits so strictly cut they looked like they had been engineered. But this season, they came in outrageously adventurous prints, either a sort of volcanic camouflage or a rain-smeared wall.

His footwear was also something else. McQueen used biker boots, but in hues of bone that made them almost extensions of leg cartilage.

McQueen also varied his silhouette mightily, sewing a hem at the back of sleeves that extended all the way across the shoulders, giving the models a “He-Man” superhero attitude.

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