Sarah Burton has created some sort of a monster. Her latest menswear collection is downright sinister. With perfectly combed hair, imposing in an impeccably tailored pinstripe suit, face hidden behind a see-through plastic mask, it was American Psycho for Saville Row. It just so happens creating beautiful monsters is part of the legacy Burton has inherited with the house, so it’s more than apropos that Patrick Bateman, one of the vilest and most beautiful monsters in recent literature and celluloid (played by Christian Bale in an iconic performance), should be the first of many dark creatures to appear on the Alexander McQueen runway.
But it was mobsters too, decked in exquisite duster coats, hit men in black belted Chesterfields, and even cutthroat business boys like Bateman himself, in refracted paneled suits, that stalked down the new London setting. Even the sheen to the shoes, with its slight equestrian touches, that evoked a palpable hint of danger in this collection. None of which is to imply that these clothes wouldn’t sit well with the consumer. Those looking for that laser-like McQueen obsessiveness will be happy to pick up any of these pieces in the next few months at the new boutique on Saville Row.
The rigor aside, what will have people talking are the bombastic conceits – the thickened pinstripes that run down vests, trousers and jackets in clean, pristine lines that look like the obsessive chalking of a mad tailor. The patchwork on suits was especially gob-smacking; the arrangement of panels in contrasting tones could only be described as dark Klimtian couture. Though, not everything worked. The kaleidoscopic suits in a pseudo-stain glass prints were overwrought at best, but the silk nightgowns that followed, flowing under blazers, announced images more maddening and exciting still – when our madman loses his brink on reality and starts haunting the halls of his own mausoleum. It’s a chill worth trying on for size.