Despite a woefully short career, Alexander McQueen is poised to endure as one of the most influential and visionary designers in the canon of fashion history. This early work from his fourth collection, which he titled after Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds, documents a moment when the designer’s talent had just begun to earn broader recognition. The jacket smartly manifests McQueen’s superior tailoring abilities (honed on London’s Savile Row) and the darkly inventive concepts that drove his runway presentations. Amid the collection, with a pastiche of references that also included roadkill and the illustrations of M. C. Escher, this garment stands out as a paragon of ominous sophistication. The peaked and padded shoulders, elongated lapels, and cloud of printed swallows compose a jacket one reviewer applauded as “nothing short of perfect.”


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