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Milan Fashion Week: Alexander McQueen's English rock gods work a powerful voodoo

June 22, 2011 |  3:29 pm


The English rocker and his wardrobe were the stated inspiration for the Alexander McQueen spring and summer 2012 collection, the floral embroidery snaking up the pant legs and across the pleated shirts (earlier in the week, John Varvatos channeled his inner Jimmy Page, embellishing a suit with hand-painted roses), the leopard-print trousers and and a dinner jacket printed with licks of orange flame.


But the bulk of the collection was less rock-godly, with plenty of Savile Row-worthy tailored suits, some in bold black-and-white checks, there were wide-striped trousers -- some made to look as if the stripes had been spray-painted on -- waistcoats, trench coats and billowy tuxedo shirts. 

And even though Sarah Burton has picked up the torch (or in this case the flame-print dinner jacket) in the post-McQueen era for the label, it doesn't mean the namesake designer's fascination with the macabre and the supernatural has faded away, referenced by voodoo-inspired accessories including tooth pendants and cuffs and belts embellished with shells (which, at first glance, looked alarmingly like human molars.

That was no doubt why the show closed to the strains of the viciously performed version of "Voodoo Chile" by the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. But, as the last look hit the runway, something about the broad red stripes of the jacket, the slightly upturned collar framing a necklace of curved teeth, and the broad-brimmed hat made it seem like the late blues rock guitarist (who died in a helicopter accident in 1990) was back walking among the living.


And then the moment passed, the haze cleared and it was just another long-haired model in designer clothes.

Voodoo or not, one thing was certain: The collection had some magic to it.

--Adam Tschorn, reporting from Milan


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Photos: Looks from the Alexander McQueen spring / summer 2012 runway collection shown during Milan Fashion Week. (Middle) Credit:Antonio Calanni / Associated Press.  (Top and bottom) Credit: Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty Images.