Alexander McQueen has unveiled its SS22 womenswear campaign, and it marks a principal move for the British house. Shot by renowned American photographer Steven Meisel, it’s surprisingly the first time McQueen’s designs have been captured in the US photographer’s signature black and white style. After being subject to the limitations of online shows due to the pandemic, the corresponding SS22 collection marked Sarah Burton’s return to the physical runway format – and the first McQueen womenswear show on home soil in twenty years – presented on top of an East London car park inside an incredible, sustainable, transparent bubble.
Captured by Meisel, a female cast made up of the industry’s most prominent faces, such as Sora Choi, Lara Stone, Anok Yai and Fran Summers who feature frequently in McQueen’s campaigns, showcase the hybridity of masculinity and femininity that draws a consistent line through the season’s collection. Puffy tulle dresses meet boxy tailoring and corseted leather as bejewelled chains drip across looks, blurring the boundaries between tailoring and dressmaking – androgyny at its finest.
The simplicity of Meisel’s monochromatic studio shots is a far cry from some of the elaborate locations used in previous years – remember Jonathan Glazer’s vision of models frolicking through the muddy Thames riverbanks? Or the haziness of the Welsh Valleys for FW20? But this stripped-back aesthetic allows McQueen’s designs to take centre stage in an enlarged contact sheet style, merging McQueen with Meisel in what marks a bold pairing for the British house.