Sean McGirr unveils debut at iconoclastic Alexander McQueen in Paris

Sean McGirr unveils debut at iconoclastic Alexander McQueen in Paris

PARIS — In the shadowy expanse of an icy-cold industrial warehouse crisscrossed by disused iron tracks and raw concrete surfaces, guests huddled under blankets, buzzing with an air of electric anticipation. This wasn’t just any fashion show; it marked the first page of a new chapter for a house steeped in an iconoclastic history — the debut show Saturday night of new creative director Sean McGirr.

Here are some highlights of fall-winter weekend ready-to-wear shows:


The pressure was palpable for the previously unknown 35-year-old Dublin-born designer to unveil his identity after 14 illustrious years of Sarah Burton. Burton, who parted ways last season, had woven her narrative into the brand’s darkly romantic ethos after the tragic loss of its visionary founder – and created big shoes to fill.

Tagged “Rough opulence” and intent on “unveiling the animal within,” McGirr’s first foray resonated with the core tenets laid down by Alexander McQueen: a fusion of Gothic allure, a provocation, an ode to historical fashion, and the brand’s hallmark of dramatic tailoring.

The show unfurled with a model emerging from the shadows in a sinisterly twisted black laminated dress that seemed to swallow her hands whole — a striking image of constriction reappeared throughout the collection. This binding theme was echoed in cords winding around slim-legged jeans and robust boots morphing into horse hooves, trailing tails, and as ominous broad leather coats.

However, the designs sometimes verged on the heavy-handed, with their pattered gowns and bulky knitwear reminiscent of car tires.

The collection nonetheless sparkled with promising moments of audacity, but seemed to have prioritized a play-it-safe approach to the debut over the risk of a misstep.

Amid the collection’s somber reflections, a surprising undercurrent of delight and whimsy surfaced, most notably through the stirring melody of fellow national Enya’s “Sail Away” filling the air. It infused the space with a buoyant optimism subtly echoed in McGirr’s creations.