How Alexander McQueen Created a Luxury Collection From Home

How Alexander McQueen Created a Luxury Collection From Home

How Alexander McQueen Created a Luxury Collection From Home

Exclusive behind-the-scenes photos detail the house’s creative process for building the Pre-SS21 collection during quarantine.

Exclusive behind-the-scenes photos detail the house’s creative process for building the Pre-SS21 collection during quarantine.

Text: Luana Harumi

As the Covid-19 pandemic brought everything as we knew it to a halt, most of us have become used to new realities, including working from home. As we know, the fashion world did not stop spinning, and new collections are still rolling out on a regular basis – although the presentations look drastically different now. And so does the creative process behind them: for Alexander McQueen, that meant taking the opportunity to look back at the house’s early days while they navigated a new work environment. And thus the Pre-Spring/Summer 21 collection was born.

With offices, ateliers, and factories around the globe shut down, the label sent stock fabric to its design team, who were tasked to over-print, over-dyed, and renewed. Designs were cut by hand in their kitchens, while the collection’s signature dip-dye was applied to the fabrics in their gardens. 

Look 28 is a great example of how much work was involved: the pink-and-black oyster ruffle dress was made from layers of washed organza, with every circle of the fabric cut by hand. The pieces also had to be taken apart before being reattached again to achieve the precise dip-dye pattern. Take a look at the process behind the design:

The original idea

Photo by Alexander McQueen Team/Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

The dress was originally supposed to be made in lace, with its first toile cut at a design team member’s home. It then changed to an oyster organza ruffle dress, built entirely from recycled materials from fabric stock. 

Creating the ruffles

Photo by Alexander McQueen Team/Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

It took some time for the team to finally crack the exact density and scale of the ruffles so they could achieve the perfect dégradé effect. To create the impression of waves, the panels of ruffles were sewn following organic, fluid lines, one row at a time – which also helped create a scale effect. 

Building it up and breaking it down

Photo by Alexander McQueen Team/Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

After the piece was assembled… it was deconstructed. The dress had to be taken apart to be dyed, so the design team could achieve the exact pattern effect they had envisioned. And then they built it up again.

The final look

Photo by Chloé Le Drezen/Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

After going through meticulous steps, the dress was finally ready to stun the world. The mid-twentieth century-inspired silhouette and soft lines combined with a delicate cotton-candy pink emphasized femininity, while the dip-dyed touch of black gave it a fresher aura.

You can find the complete Pre-SS21 lookbook here. Watch the collection short film below: 

Credits: Cover photo by Chloé Le Drezen/Courtesy of Alexander McQueen.

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