Seán McGirr Debuts a Carnal First Collection at Alexander McQueen

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Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2024
Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2024Courtesy of Alexander McQueen

Presented in a warehouse in Paris, the newly appointed creative director recalls some of the house’s lean, seductive codes

There are a few brands that fashion fans feel truly protective over, and Alexander McQueen is surely one of them. It’s thanks to the label’s founder; the timeless allure of his staggeringly emotional clothing, his wholly singular and untamed vision, and how his life story has been replayed in biographies, documentaries, and a soon-to-be biopic. In the wake of his death, Sarah Burton took the reigns of his house, and rightfully so – she’d worked under McQueen since 1996, four years after the label was founded. Following Burton’s sudden departure in the autumn of last year, all eyes were on Paris this weekend, as the label’s new creative director Seán McGirr presented his debut collection in a 13th arrondissement warehouse. 

Like his predecessors, 35-year-old McGirr had studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins. He then trained at Dries Van Noten in Antwerp, before eventually rising through the ranks at JW Anderson, where he joined McQueen from his previous position as the Head of RTW. For his debut collection, McGirr touched on cornerstones of the label – its subversion, provocation, its gritty London roots. It was a similar venue where McQueen had presented his Spring/Summer 1995 collection The Birds 20 years prior, and the same references nested their way into the clothing. The opening look saw a model bound in a latex-y dress, her hands trapped against her body, calling back to the clingfilm garments from that very show. 

Elsewhere, there were peak-shouldered suits, coats nipped at the waist and hip, and dresses like cracked glass, making his models appear tall, lean and dangerous. His recent years at JW Anderson felt palpable, too, in engulfing oversized knitwear, skinny cardigans, hefty boots and some stellar accessories, delivered on the runway with an intimidating swagger as Enya’s Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) soundtracked the show’s finale. McGirr’s dissection of the house’s codes certainly eschews Burton’s razor-sharp precision, but instead recalls some big-time fashion, celebrating an awe-inspiring catalogue of greatest hits served with a rugged and desirable glamour. The minimal press notes attached to the show referenced: “A rough opulence. Revealing the animal within,” and this is only the beginning of McGirr’s carnal emergence.