A mystical land, a shipwreck, where paranormal creatures rose from the depths of the ocean. Its name was Plato’s Atlantis—Lee Alexander McQueen’s last womenswear show presented by him. A place where technology met this bizarre yet supreme land created by a nature enthusiast and brought to life through his unique aesthetic. It was October 6th, 2009 at Paris Fashion Week. Another fashion week it seemed, until guests arrived at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Berey for McQueen’s presentation. His most celebrated collection was about to stroll down the catwalk and cameras were ready to webcast it live for the first time in fashion history. Remarkable, of course.
The show started on time, something quite strange at McQueen’s shows—which were normally delayed for various reasons. He partnered up with Nick Knight to create the visuals—a transmuting Raquel Zimmerman’s clip opened the show, setting an unrealistic aquatic aura—and livestream it through Knight’s website (SHOWtime.com). Musician John Gosling produced a unique track for the presentation, opening with a suspicious vibe followed by drumbeats and the sound of uncanny creatures. The stage was effortless compared to those on his previous shows—two cameras on each side and a big screen. Guests sat as if they were to watch a theatrical play full of drama; turned out to be quite the opposite: eccentric and lively.
The creative process started on a trip to Thailand, as claimed by Savage Beauty’s exhibition catalog. As a Charles Darwin admirer, his philosophy was the starting point to this thalassic utopia where humans evolved as some sort of mammal-like reptile species. Sarah Burton argued his vision was tough to reproduce—his draping and tailoring techniques were almost impossible to mimic. It was with technology the collection came alive: patterns, psychedelic prints and exquisite textures alluding marine life.
Alexander McQueen was not a friend of critics, in fact, he had various confrontations with Vogue’s Editor-at-Large, Suzy Menkes. This was the turning point, the moment of glory and, as some claim, his first tangible collection—impeccable silhouettes, shoes from another dimension (the Armadillo boots and Alien shoe), an excellent colour transition, all paired with intricately majestic hairstyles and paranormal distorting make up. It did not involve any satire. Critics suddenly began to like him; it was Lee himself, all him. Almost impossible to undertake. A sublime moment in fashion. One with an unfortunate end.
Written by MARÍA JOSÉ GNZLVZ
Visual Editor MARÍA JOSÉ GNZLVZ
Photos courtesey of wonderlandmagazine.com, voguerunway.com and savagebeauty.alexandermcqueen.com