Her Majesty: Inspirations From Alexander McQueen’s Runway Collection

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Alexander McQueen presented a tiny but lavish redux of British history, weaving decadently between Elizabethan, Victorian, and modern fashions, always with the glory of the British Empire in mind. The collection opened with a fine white broderie anglaise (a patriotic choice in comparison to more extravagant and customary Belgian or French lace) overlaying a tiered white organza dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves, both of which were fashionable in the 1830s when a young Queen Victoria ascended the English throne.

One look, featuring panes of pearl-embellished, pleated leather, recalled the severity of banishment-to-the-tower by King Henry VIII but featured a silhouette that reminded us of the Duchess of Windsor’s devil-may-care scandal and infamous love of clothes. It then rewound to Queen Elizabeth’s reign, with farthingales draped with gold-lattice-embroidered silk chiffon, and a heavily embroidered pearl and gold beaded corset/gorget, topped off with a frothy fraise ruff — again, made with broderie anglaise, edged with white pearls. The last two ostrich feather looks felt like an homage to Kate Moss en route to a party, or something straight out of a Cecil Beaton fashion sitting.

All of these subtle cues to Britain’s thrilling, majestic, and racy past made our head spin with inspiring imagery that we had to put into a mood board.

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