WHERE WAS THE COLLECTION SHOWN?
In the elegant gilded salon of an 18th-century mansion, the Hôtel de Clermont-Tonnerre, which is the family headquarters of PPR, the holding company that owns the Gucci group, and 51% of McQueen’s business.
WHERE WOULD IT HAVE BEEN SHOWN?
The show was slated to take place in McQueen’s favourite venue, the opulent La Conciergerie, a former royal palace and prison in Paris located next to the Seine.
DID MCQUEEN DESIGN THE CLOTHES?
McQueen is understood to have cut and finished 16 patterns, chosen the fabrics and to have been pleased with the way the collection was progressing. This is roughly half the number of outfits he would usually have shown. The production of the collection was overseen by McQueen’s longtime design assistant, Sarah Burton.
…BUT HOW DO WE KNOW?
Twice in the weeks leading up to his death on February 11th, Mr. McQueen tweeted the message "Hells angels [sic] and prolific demons." Referring to the themes of the show.
DID MCQUEEN HAVE ANY INPUT INTO THE PRESENTATION?
Kind of. The presentation was accompanied by the sepulchral 17th-century choral music Alexander had listened to while creating the collection; sombre music, sung by the German coloratura soprano, Simone Kermes, and including Dido’s Lament from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas
HOW WAS HE WORKING ON THE CLOTHES?
The 16 showpieces were all created “on the stand” by McQueen in the weeks before his death. This is a 3D technique often used for pattern making for couture designs. The fabric is draped onto a mannequin to interpret ideas, and the shape is then transferred to paper to obtain a pattern.
For his final collection, McQueen was experimenting with using thicker fabrics in order to mimic the sculptured folds of material seen in statues.
HOW ABOUT THE PRINTS?
This time the prints were created by “digitally capturing entire works of art and weaving them into fabrics” with inspirations ranging from Byzantine art and Old Master paintings to the statues of sculptor Grinling Gibbons, whose work appears on tombs in Westminster Abbey.
WILL THIS COLLECTION GO ON SALE?
No, the couture like hand-crafted attention to detailing – such as the gilded feather jacket, with each individual plume painstakingly dipped in gold leaf – meant this collection could only ever have been made to order for individual private clients.
Although a spokeswoman confirmed the pieces will be loaned out on a limited basis to selected fashion magazines for photoshoots.
WILL THERE BE OTHER CLOTHES ON SALE FOR A/W ’10?
From today a showroom collection of approximately 160 pieces is now on sale to retailers. McQueen president Jonathan Akeroyd is already reporting “exceptional” advance orders from the label’s 300 womenswear retailers. The range is expected appear in stores from September.
This main collection is in addition to the Alexander McQueen pre-fall collection that was shown in Milan in January 2010, which was inspired by a mash up of Dickensian opium dens, and equestrian country pursuits; featuring details such as high necked dresses, bustled skirts, riding jackets and jodhpurs. The pre-fall collection will go on sale in August.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE LABEL NEXT?
Sarah Burton (who worked alongside McQueen for 16 years) and the rest of the studio team, are expected to stay on to work on the label, and a spokesman confirmed “that will continue for the foreseeable future”.
IS THIS THE ONLY MEMORIAL FOR MCQUEEN?
A memorial is planned for the designer, but no date has been set.
As the show notes for the final presentation stated “each piece is unique, as was he.” [WWD]