The late Alexander McQueen was not known for taking a straightforward approach to fashion, yet the designer’s Spring/Summer 2005 collection saw an accessible interpretation of everyday dressing contrasted with remastered examples of McQueen’s most sought after garments.
Act one of the show brought about a series of light, feminine looks. McQueen tied together Edwardian references, schoolgirl elements, and touches of nautical allusions through delicate frills, sheer dresses, knee grazing shorts, sailor suits and smart trousers. The collection’s second chapter was an abrupt shift to McQueen’s characteristically extravagant designs and employment of couture techniques. Molded corsets were featured prominently, marking another type of femininity focused on the female anatomy, and Hemlines were finished with horsehair, reminiscent of the designer’s fall/winter 2000 “Eshu” collection. References to archetypal American sportswear were touched on through the collection’s ornate football helmets, shoulder pads and thigh-high riding boots, while odes to the far east were seen in garment’s delicate kimono detailing and looks bearing classic Japanese imagery.
As for the collection’s ‘chess board’ set design, the designer sought inspiration from the chess match played J. K. Rowling’s breakthrough 1997 novel, ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. By the end of the runway show, each model found themselves as pawns in the midst of a live chess game. Mechanical, robot-like voiceovers gave unfeeling directions to the ‘players’ as they moved about the board while the game was centered around two queens, played impeccably by models Gemma Ward and Hana Soukupouva. The idea for the chess game stemmed from the designer’s interest in capturing different types of women from divergent cultures, women who were then treated as game pieces, forced to face opposing characters.
The diverse cultural influences infused throughout the show pay testament to the designer’s progressive ways, something that fashion struggle’s to find in the industry today. Spring/Summer 2005 wove together a masterpiece of the house’s greatest hits, revisited and rethought in a manner only achieved by Alexander McQueen.