Alexander McQueen Fall 2021 Collection is Inspired by a Healing Flower
It’s been more than eleven years since Alexander McQueen took his own life (on February 11, 2010, aged just 40); and a quick survey of the current state of fashion would suggest that little was really learned from that tragic event. Overwhelming work pressure was surely one of the primary causes of his demise – and yet designers are still charged with turning out collections at an ever accelerated rate. In a February 2021 article, The Atlantic declared that “ultra-fast fashion is eating the world.” Indeed.
So it’s encouraging to see that the Alexander McQueen Fall 2021 collection was influenced by a desire to convey a humanistic sense of healing. Indeed, Creative Director Sarah Burton chose the anemone (pronounced uh · neh · muh · nee) flower as her primary inspiration, a glorious little plant whose particular medicinal compounds – mostly triterpenoid saponins – have been shown to be effective in anti-cancer treatments, as well as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant…and can even be employed to ward off anxiety attacks. And if there was ever a time that we needed an effective treatment against anxiety, it’s after sixteen months of a deadly worldwide pandemic.
“Anemones are the most ephemeral flowers, here made permanent in cloth,” she explains of the resulting fashions. “The women wearing the anemone dresses almost become like flowers, like their embodiment, their character – but amplified, grounded, radiant and strong.”
The images of the collection, shot by Paolo Roversi, fittingly have an almost meditative quality, and seem to defy chronology.
Of course, as we struggle out of the coronavirus crisis, predictions of a new ‘Roaring ’20s’ are probably actually premature. Rather, we will likely go cautiously forward, tending to the ever fragile health that some of us were lucky enough to hold onto. But re-engaging with fashion can certainly have its own sort of therapeutic effect, especially after such a long period of dressing down and staring at the same four walls.
“It feels like now is a time for healing,” Barton observes, “for breathing new life, for exploring echoes from the past to enrich our future. More than ever, a sense of humanity, of the team working together with a single aim – to make something beautiful, something meaningful – feels both precious and important.”