Le roi des manteaux !


Photo: Marcio Madeira

In naming his latest show "The McQueensberry Rules," Alexander McQueen elided his own name and that of the nineteenth-century aristocrat whose title became synonymous with fair play in the boxing ring. And that set the tone for a parade of glowering tough cookies who looked like they'd stepped straight out of Gangs of New York. Kohl-eyed, clutching their silver-topped canes like cudgels, they stormed down the catwalk in tailored finery. It was a typical McQueen scenario: immaculately realized garments underpinned by a hint of horror movie (a leather butcher's apron transmogrified into Rollerball rig) and the promise of rough sex (muscles that stopped at nothing, for no one).

And if attention must be paid to the coat in Milan this season, McQueen's took the prize. A half-belted number was the week's consummately sartorial piece, with, not far behind, trenches in tan or black leather and a frock with a floral silk jacquard spreading across its hem like creeping fleurs du mal. The designer paired such items with skinny-legged pants so as not to divert attention from them. Same with the extravagant knits, particularly the pagan artisanal wraps with kilt closings. As McQueen collections go, this one was remarkably coherent. Pull it apart, and there were plenty of desirable stand-alone pieces. But the suspicion lingers that he might be more diverted dressing the creatures of his imagination for stage or screen.— Tim Blanks www.menstyle.com