It could only be Alexander McQueen, master of spectacle and in especially good form this season.
Although A/W's colonial romance was a hard act to follow, McQueen managed it - with passion, emotion and lightness of touch. The show invite was a holographic image of the designer's face, which turned into a skull; the show venue was a former morgue filled with an array of endangered species taxidermy. McQueen's inspiration was Charles Darwin, the survival of the fittest and a realisation that man's power and greed are destroying the world (click here to see the show).
"I'm not aiming to preach," he explained. "It's not as simple as that. I believe, though, that we're in danger of killing the planet. Every species is fragile but animals are the underdogs while we are actually bringing about our own extinction - and theirs."
Despite his seriousness of purpose, this was a harmonious collection that gave signature McQueen shapes - frock coats, skinny trousers, corsets, short moulded dresses - a new poetry. Divided into two sections representing the time before and after man, colourful wood prints and flower appliques progressed to sinister black and white vertebrae prints then to heavy encrusted crystals in black, bronze and silver.
Although the show was dramatic (one model fainted as she left the catwalk) and powerful, the clothes themselves retained a sense of untroubled beauty. A glorious reminder of Alexander McQueen's power as a designer.
By Avril Mair
Posted: 4 October 2008More