It’s difficult to see the words ‘McQ’ or ‘McQueen’ without remembering the man who made them so rich in memory but popular opinion is that Sarah Burton, long time associate and now the brand’s creative director since McQueen died in 2010, has taken up the baton admirably.
Now, she turns her considerable skills to designing a collaboration with PUMA to create a collection of shoes that will prove irresistible to fans of both brands. It was nine years ago Alexander McQueen established Alexander McQueen PUMA; the latest collection is a continuation of the story.
It’s the latest liaison between a high fashion house and sportswear – think McCartney and Adidas or the incredible Nike + Riccardo Tisci Air Force 1 sneakers – but one of the most anticipated. ‘Sportswear has become an essential style status symbol on the streets of major cities around the world, so we’re very excited to be partnering with PUMA for this collection of trainers,’ said McQ brand director Andy Rogers. ‘The mixing of sportswear with high fashion defines much of modern style, so it felt right to partner with a brand with such a strong history of designer collaborations.’
How would Burton turn Alexander McQueen’s rich fashion archive, his rebellious and his creative bravado, his darkness into a sports shoe? The answer lies in anatomy, an echo of McQueen’s often visceral response to life.
It’s achieved with classic McQueen imagination: ‘ribcages’ and ‘tendons’ – moulded TPU laid over the premium mesh and nubuck of some of PUMA’s most famous shapes – create shoes that look highly structured but uncovered, almost flayed. In the women’s collection, the McQ Leap also references anatomy through a take on the wedge silhouette. Prints are reminiscent of McQueen’s own obsessions: morphing marble detail and birds.
One of the joys of collaborations is seeing two uniquely different worlds (read ‘brands’) merge ideas and ideals. McQ has always been strongly associated with subcultures, experimentation, with art and music. PUMA, fundamentally a sports brand, has inspired street culture, music and fashion.
And yet these are great shoes, merging Burton’s gothic styling with PUMA’s use of performance-inspired constructions. ‘Together PUMA and McQ have drawn on their divergent yet complimentary experiences to investigate the point at which performance blurs into fashion,’ said PUMA brand director Adam Petrick.
On sale August 1st.