Alexander McQueen “La Poupée” SS 1997 R-T-W

“La Poupée”, McQueen’s subsequent show after his “Dante” collection was distorted beauty personified. Inspired by Hans Bellmer’s photographs of mutilated and reassembled dolls. McQueen’s runway was all about fictional bodies. To my understanding, McQueen’s collection was a critique of the limitations of the human body, both presenting those limitations and merging them with reality through the said presentation. In the same manner, McQueen also addressed the fascism of fashion and the distortion of space by heterotopia.

The set design was presented in a rectangular space where the floor was made of water, aiming to look like a mirror floor. The mirror represented an unreal reflection of reality, a fictional space separated from the real world. The mirror brought reality to the unreal while connecting all the spaces. As a result, a heterotopia was created, a world within a world. We have seen from Lee’s previous collections, his interest in fantasy and his desire to provoke.

Look 22

The use of the cages on some of the models represented the fascism found in fashion as Lee explained and the desire for the industry to dictate what others wear. I particularly loved this reference as it reiterates the Anti-fashion mindset McQueen worked with throughout his career.

The Cage: Look 47

Through the set design and collection, we see the common traits of experimentation, romance and provocation. Experimentation through metallic clothes, sculptured facial accessories, etc. Romance through his love of nature at the end with the cage of butterflies as his last look. Provocation originating from the inspiration of  Hans Bellmer and the dismemberment and reconstruction of dolls.

My favourite looks are as follows: Look 2, 3, 22, 43, 49, 52, 70 and 71. Unlike his previous collections, this collection was bigger which allowed for a wider audience to pick from the simple to the sophisticated. 

As I watched the show, I found myself falling in love with the way each look was styled and the similar yet different styles created. I specifically enjoyed the accessories employed, such as; the silver makeup used on the model’s eyes, the sculptured facial accessories, metallic clothing, long hair, a single sharp nail on each of the model’s hands and the zips located on odd places of specific clothes. McQueen’s continued use of the bumster was a classic alongside his cast of Kate Moss, an old friend and Debra Shaw. Both models he has seen to have used previously. 

McQueen has improved his creative direction with every collection, from small details to the large. Another aspect I enjoyed was the way the models moved, exaggerated movements that made it uncomfortable to watch. Despite this collection being relatively simple, in the sense that there were more toned-down looks within the collection, his audience loved the looks. In the same manner, so did his customers and the collection sold really well. Consequently, due to the sales and reception created from the show, McQueen’s future appointment at Givenchy as creative director was solidified. In summation, these actions resulted in La Poupée being one of McQueen’s most iconic shows.

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