Seán McGirr's Alexander McQueen Debut Drives Controversy With Split Opinions

Do you love it or hate it?

Fashion 
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British designer Sarah Burton ended her 20-year tenure at Alexander McQueen in September 2023, bidding farewell to the brand that nurtured her distinguishable talent. Dublin-born designer Seán McGirr was announced as her replacement, rising to the helm of Alexander McQueen following his celebrated roles at JW Anderson, Dries Van Noten, and Uniqlo.

McGirr arrived at Paris Fashion Week to reveal his highly-anticipated debut for the British House, leaving fans divided in speculation. The collection was a nod to Jonathan Anderson‘s whimsical design language, architecting his time at JW Anderson with sculptural designs that are voluminous in nature. On the other hand, McGirr investigated McQueen’s Spring/Summer 1995 “The Birds” collection — recalled in the first look, which sees a model wrapped in a compressed latex dress.

“It should have sort of playful aggression to it, and should be kind of uplifting, because I want to bring a kind of lightness to McQueen,” the designer said to Vogue. While onlookers noticed separation from the McQueen identity, McGirr is tapping into new realms while navigating his way under the spotlight. The collection is meant to “reveal the animal within” and does so across blossoming long-haired ensembles with a life of their own.

Elsewhere, the brand’s darkened aesthetic is portrayed in sinister cowboys with their faces concealed by leather hats. McGirr played with sizeable knitwear through circular geometry, while fur-trimmed tops froze in time through rectangular outlines. McQueen’s signature tailoring was present in embellished blazers and cigarette pants, transitioning into pinstriped looks with glossy neon shirting. Asymmetrical coats with rounded shoulders tricked the eye with illusion, while glass-encrusted dresses were motivated by smashed phone screens — “It’s like this gesture of throwing your phone away,” he said.

All in all, McGirr delivered a solid collection that merged his career learnings, but lost touch with McQueen’s identity. While the range pulled more toward the former, he still has plenty left to learn, leaving us eager to see what he does next and questioning his outlook on the brand’s legacy.

Take a closer look at Alexander McQueen’s FW24 collection in the gallery above, and stay tuned for more Paris Fashion Week content on Hypebeast.

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