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Gothic Meets Futurism: Alexander McQueen’s New Era Under Seán McGirr

Alexander McQueen Sean McGirr
CREDIT: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN BY TOMMY MALEKOF

Alexander McQueen Debuts New Era Under Incoming Designer Seán McGirr

Iconic British fashion house Alexander McQueen has offered a first glimpse at incoming creative director Seán McGirr’s inaugural collection debuting at March’s Paris Fashion Week. The launch campaign’s dark, lush pine forest backdrop and striking chrome skull masks nod to the label’s moody DNA while hinting at McGirr’s fresh, youthful edge.

Appointed in late 2023 after 26 years under predecessor Sarah Burton, the Dublin-born McGirr channels his own Celtic roots in the imagery’s mystical ambience. Photos from cutting-edge photographer Tommy Malekof artfully blend past and future, cementing McGirr’s respect for the Alexander McQueen legacy.

Models Debra Shaw and Frankie Rayder don futuristic skull headgear recalling the label’s longtime archetypal motif. But their ensembles feel completely of-the-moment: a sharply tailored men’s suit, a strapless liquid silver mini dress evoking shattered glass, an intricate sleeveless tartan look.

It’s a compelling fusion of McGirr’s background spanning experimental Japanese magazine Vogue Hommes to tradition-rooted brands like Burberry. As CEO Gianfilippo Testa puts it, the new creative director wields “experience, personality and creative energy” to build on Alexander McQueen’s “unique heritage.”

alexander mcqueen campaign
CREDIT: ALEXANDER MCQUEEN BY TOMMY MALEKOF

A standout from the campaign is a slinky black strapless dress paired with chunky oversized boots. The contrast parallels McGirr’s balancing act between past and future. The gown feels reminiscent of the McQueen wildness that shook runways in the 90s and 2000s under founder Lee Alexander McQueen.

But the space-age footwear and accessories add McGirr’s millennial, avant-garde accent. Together, they make for an arresting contemporary statement.

That creative tension looks to be a signature of the new era at Alexander McQueen. McGirr’s overhaul even includes an evolved version of the original McQueen logo, with the nested “C” in “Q” design now encased in a sleek, sharpened frame. It symbolizes respect for the late Lee McQueen’s 30-year legacy while forging decisively ahead.

The Irish designer heads into his Paris debut with invaluable experience under Lucy Wilson at Central Saint Martins and visionary labels from Dries Van Noten to JW Anderson. His final collection as Head of Ready-To-Wear at the latter drew acclaim for its otherworldly romanticism.

Expect a similar adventurous spirit now paired with the potent Alexander McQueen mix of sartorial craft and dark glamour. McGirr is clearly primed to make the label excitingly relevant for a new generation.

The house promises his complete collection will “embrace its past to inform the present and future.” If the launch campaign sets the tone, the future for Alexander McQueen could be thrilling indeed. Paris and the fashion world await eagerly…

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