Thursday, 28 November 2013


Continuing his reign of success, McQueen once again turned his attention to the film industry to source inspiration for his A/W 1999 collection ‘The Overlook’ (which can be seen in full here). Named after the hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic ‘The Shining’, the show was full of references to the spooky film – most notably, the staging was an almost exact replica of one particular scene in which the protagonists flee the hotel and end up trapped outside surrounded by mountains of snow. Encased in a giant glass box, models recreated the scene perfectly as they walked around a frozen ice rink that resided directly in the middle of the runway, creating a winter wonderland that marks one of McQueen’s most impressive sets to date.

With regards to the actual garments themselves, the overall aesthetic was serene and beautiful in a way that is rarely seen in a McQueen collection – there’s usually some element of provocation or aggression, but with this collection the fabrics were frothy and the colour palette was clean. Opening with a procession of all-black ensembles, the collection soon softened as McQueen introduced dusty pinks and ivories into his repertoire, softening the mood and making it one of the designer’s most stereotypically ‘feminine’ collections to date.

The collection also marked McQueen’s first real foray into knitwear, one particularly notable example being of an oversized rose-tinted jumper with an exaggerated round collar and peplum-like waist which literally resembled tarnished pink petals. A grey waffle-knit poncho was another example of the collection’s overall wearability – for the first time, the collection seemed to perfectly fit the stereotype of a winter collection with its snuggly fabrics and muted colour palette. The designer also experimented with laser-cutting, leaving tiny snowflake-shaped in white silk dresses that were layered with tulle underskirts to create the iconic silhouette that McQueen is so well-known for. The most impressive example of the laser-cut technique came in the form of a metallic silver dress with a turtleneck top and an incredible full skirt etched with intricate swirls that were emphasised by the lighting (see the final image). 

Adding to the wintry atmosphere, both the staging and the make-up looks reflected the feel of the clothing perfectly. Towards the end of the show, snow started to fall and a blizzard soon whipped up in the glass box which created the impression of a real-life snowglobe, inhabited by wintry nymphets covered liberally in white powder and tiny crystalline icicles. In a typically impressive fashion, the climax of the show was marked by a flurry of strobe lighting as models sped onto the runway’s ice rink in a blur of graceful choreography and rapid twirls, proving once again that fashion and fantasy will always be a perfect match.

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