Alexander McQueen, AW11, Paris.
As good as full length catwalk images are, they only go part way into showing how clever the designers and their teams really are. The best thing about viewing catwalk photography online now, is that we have access to close-up images of the runway shows so that you can zoom right in and try to work out what the designers are doing so that you really appreciate the garments.
If you ever begin to feel blasé about a designer, remember that part of the problem may be that you actually aren’t seeing the clothes properly. From far away a jacket may look normal or ordinary, but in real life it may be the buttons, the lining or the careful hand stitching that wins you over.
The recent Alexander McQueen collection is definitely worthy of zooming all the way in. From afar fabrics may look incredible but it is only when you focus right in on the details that you realise the full extent of the work involved.
The black dress above is relatively understated compared to much of the collection but on closer inspection it appears that the fabric has been woven by hand, possibly out of black pony skin. And even more involved than that is the fact that the weaving appears to have been done panel by panel so that the weaving ends out of the way of the stitching lines which will join each panel to the panels around it. This way the seams do not end up too bulky. Not only that, but the strips appear to involve a complex system of small slits and silver studs which allow little glimmers of silver to shine through the black hide.
From just viewing the runway images this piece could have been glanced over appreciatively, but if you saw someone wearing this in real life then no doubt it would be much more awe inspiring. If the process is really as I have guessed below then there are hours upon hours of work in just preparing the fabric of each panel piece.
Catwalk images from Vogue.co.uk»
Technical images from The Cutting Class.