“I wanted the hair to be dark and sinister,” says Guido Palau of the Alexander McQueen A/W14 menswear show which took place earlier this week. Seasoned hair stylist for the house, he twisted crow’s feathers within each model’s matted hair, reminiscent of pagan mythology as they hung down over the face and stuck out at right angles. “I wasn’t too worried about the shape of the hair, I just wanted a great texture. The overall idea was to look quite dark and almost dirty. I didn’t want the feathers to be misconstrued as pretty.”
The show was a monochromatic display of military tailoring, heavy outerwear and Unitarian boots. “I was thinking of Adam and the Ants and Edward Scissorhands,” continues Palau. “It was a mismatch of those things. I liked the way feathers added a graphic element to the hair. It feels like dressing up but then it is still quite punky.”
"The overall idea was to look quite dark and almost dirty. I didn’t want the feathers to be misconstrued as pretty” — Guido Palau
The feathered coiffure was worn with dark, gothic make-up, a signature element of any McQueen show, both strikingly fierce yet scythed with cinematic melancholy. “There was a suggestion of pirates and punk,” explains make-up artist Miranda Joyce. “I was inspired by a picture of Brian Eno which I love. It had a certain romance to it.” Joyce used grey Typographic eye shadow by MAC. “I applied it quickly, and with a certain artiness, not taking too much time. I didn't want it to look overworked.”
Weaving between marble columns and gilt paint, models walked to Bela Lugosi’s Dead by Bauhaus. Burton says that the show had a nostalgic spin, looking to collections past, and this was indeed apparent in the broad shouldered coats, kilts and checks reminiscent of say, McQueen’s A/W06 Willows of Culloden, or his Superhero-inspired A/W07 show. The setting – the derelict Welsh Chapel on Charing Cross Road – sits alongside McQueen’s A/W97 Dante collection, staged within Christ Church, Spitalfields, or many of his other historical, gothic locations, each one suggestive of a magical yet dystopian McQueen world where clothing and armour collide.
Text by Mhairi Graham