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Painter and photographer, John Deakin (1912—1972) was a member of the bohemian Soho circle which included Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud in the Fifties. In a special collaboration with @TheJohnDeakinArchive, the Spring/Summer 2019 menswear collection was an homage to the legacy of Deakin portraiture and photographs of graffiti shot on the streets of Paris and Rome.
The narrow, single-breasted men’s evening coat is a characteristic Alexander McQueen clashing of symbols, bringing together the photography of roughly drawn graffiti chalked on the street together with the painstakingly-detailed skills of hand-embroidery.
The intensive process of creating the final embroidery began with a digital scan of John Deakin’s original photograph. The base fabric was developed first with artwork digitally engineered and mapped onto individual tailoring pattern pieces. To create the effect of the chalked graffiti the embroidery team mapped out the design on tulle which was overlaid onto the base fabric. When the final pattern was decided, a life-size paper maquette of the coat was created so the team could assess how to balance the embroidery design on the proportions of the tailored coat. Meanwhile, swatches of silver beads, metallic threads and hammered ‘mercury’ bullion embroidery were draped on a coat.
Unlocking Stories is open to the public and provides complete access to the processes, stories, teamwork and materials that went into select looks from the Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2019 collection. From the treasury of ideas and clothes by Lee Alexander McQueen through to the inspiration and creative processes developed organically by Sarah Burton in the studio today.