“My curves are not crazy” were the immortal words of pioneering French artist Henri Matisse. It was said that he painted with scissors, an idea perhaps adopted by Sarah Burton for this season’s S/S15 Alexander McQueen menswear show. Burton looked to the Tate Modern’s prolific catalogue, taking Matisse’s iconic swirls and paper cut-outs and Kabuki’s theatrical Japanese make-up and reworking them in a dramatic display of suiting and leather.
Willowy beads and leafy curls swung across polo-necks and tailored jackets in Matisse blue, beige and mustard. Even the wet-look hair by seasoned McQueen hair stylised Guido Palau hung across one eye like a brush stroke. The collection felt slightly less sinister than in previous seasons, a zen-like feel rippling through the Japanese belted coats and clinical white tailoring.
"Willowy beads and leafy curls swung across polo-necks and tailored jackets"
Of course the McQueen menswear staples were still there: houndstooth, distorted historicism, a nod to punk and a scientific edge that suggested each model had walked out of Sarah Burton’s laboratory – an idea reinforced by the venue at The Royal College of Surgeons.
It seems that for spring, Burton has left the flavour of the collection in the eye of the beholder: whether you chose to pick up on the structured PVC, or the pared-back suiting or abstracted trompe l'oeil trousers. Indeed it was Mattise who also said, “there are always flowers for those who want to see them.”
Text by Mhairi Graham