Alexander McQueen S/S 2009 “Natural Dis-Tinction, Un-Natural Selection”
The stage for Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2009 runway collection was a cheeky environmental scene- with a globe of the Earth revolving in the background, models emerged through a runway of taxidermy-like stuffed animals, from peacocks to elephants and zebras. Entitled “Natural Dis-Tinction, Un-Natural Selection”, it was a clear reference to Darwinism, both industrial and humanistic.
McQueen didn’t take the show in as dark a direction as would have been expected at the time, however: the collection was full of light colors and easy fabrics, albeit alongside skintight jumpsuits encrusted with jewels and leather corset belts. While much of the clothing had McQueen’s signature drape-y and sculptural silhouettes, the shoes and hair-styling were universally flat to the body- shoes that molded to each toe, or had nude stockings clinging to the ankles, and hair that was flat against the face, held on by mesh face masks.
The first pieces in the show had incredible patterns that looked like rings of wood, or the markings of a tiger, seamlessly sewn together (a foreshadowing of his sequel show, SS10’s “Plato’s Atlantis”), in taupes and browns, with occasional pops of canary yellow. These made way for a series of harder looks, such as the bodysuit worn by Magdalena Frackowiak (above) made to look like a shimmering insect, and stiff dresses in an hourglass shape with floral details. Perhaps the most striking looks were the suits and dresses that looked like the combination of animal spines and geometric shapes.
Lee emerged at the end of the show in a large bunny costume, waving happily to the crowd- the dark and serious A/W 2009 show that was to come in several months was a sign of his decline into deep depression- however this was perhaps McQueen’s last “happy” show on Earth.