McQ, Alexander McQueen's little sister line, stepped out from the shadows at London Fashion Week today with its first ever show.
Why we all thought it would be a quiet presentation of clothes is anyone's guess. The McQueen brand never does anything by half and for the third time in as many days it was proved that nothing can be read from the term "presentation" anyway: Stella McCartney's display under the same guise saw a supermodel dance routine, Richard Nicoll's gave us a live shoot. McQ had us in a leaf-strewn forest with Salma Hayak and Samantha Cameron sitting front row at what was very much a show-show, and then some.
Military coats, leaves richly embroidered on to hemlines and creeping over red velvet bandeau dresses. That exaggerated prom shape that women crave from their eveningwear. There was Black Watch tartan of course, covering a beautiful full-skirted coat and pleated kilts.
Designers' secondary lines or brand extensions have never been more relevant. Yes the luxury market is booming as the rich get richer and shoppers want one showpiece rather than a hundred high street, but for everyday life, the super-accessible diffusion collection is everyone's entry-point, a repeat one too. Take the Victoria by Victoria Beckham line: dresses that echo the mainline at a quarter of the price which retailers can't re-stock quick enough.
The McQ line, a bit neglected in its six year history, is ripe for the picking. The last 12 months have seen a global fascination in the label (we don't need to spell out why), and this is its way in. It's now stronger, focused and in tune with the mainline. This was a brand repositioning, a message loud and clear that McQ was going to get some love.
After the black devore gowns, one white arrived modeled by a ghostly Kristen McMenamy. Reaching down she furraged in the leaves to find a white rope. Following it to the back of the stage a forest complete with trees appeared from the smoke, with a wooden house sitting amongst it. As the music grows louder, the house lights up in neon and we all follow McMenamy in through the dark forest to the hut for a drink. Bonkers. But real good bonkers.