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Alexander McQueen SS15, womenswear, Dazed backstage
Katlin Aas (IMG) Backstage at Alexander McQueen SS15Photography Lea Colombo

Alexander McQueen SS15

Leather harnesses and fetishistic face masks met Japanese prints and chiffon in a collection that recalled the work of provocateurs Allen Jones and Nobuyoshi Araki

Initial reaction:

The notions of freedom and constraint seemed to be playing on the mind of Sarah Burton at today’s McQueen show. Or to be more precise, it was the sexuality that underscored these two dualities that eventually manifested itself on the runway, which this season was filled with two large white orchid sculptures by artist Marc Quinn – complete with a large, phallic stigma. Strength, domination, sensuality and fetishism all made their way into the collection, which was made up of striking Japanese prints on severe python skin suits and leather strapped harnesses that formed the top of voluminous chiffon skirts. 

The masked woman:

Striking handcrafted high-gloss masks by Pat McGrath outlined the face – at times verging on traditional Māori technique of Tā moko (permanent face masking) with its shape and form recalling the work of artist Allen Jones. It added an alluring strength to collection – especially to looks that verged on the romantic like the pink floral print kimono-style dresses and the graphic beaded mosaic looks that closed the show.

Playing with eroticism:

In a sense, this season’s collection brought to mind the work of Japanese provocateur Nobuyoshi Araki. A particular quote on his Kinbaku series rung through my ear during the show: “Women? Well, they are gods. They will always fascinate me. As for rope, I always have it with me. Even when I forget my film, the rope is always in my bag. Since I can’t tie their hearts up, I tie their bodies up instead.” Burton's woman was equally complex, and that's where the strength lay in her collection. On the surface level she too appeared to be a provocateur, but you got the feeling that underneath that there was a fragility, a certain sense of romance – should you be lucky enough to find your way to her heart.