• Fashion Revolution Day #insideout Who made your clothes? @clubmonaco leather jacket @thisiswhistles came top and skirt both Made in China
  • Fashion Revolution Day begins @fash_rev Will be asking throughout the day - who made your clothes?  Hope everyone joins in! #InsideOut (pic via @gettyfashion)
  • It was announced a while ago but wanted to say how happy I am to have been asked to select Dress of the Year 2013 at Fashion Museum in Bath. My choice was this @christopherkanestudio SS13 beauty.
  • Love this concertina beach scene print on @marios_official tote available at @therefineryhk now! #PMQIS
  • Congrats to my cousin @elizabethlauldn and her new shop @therefineryhk in the new PMQ building @PMQHKDesign #PMQIS much love for @BernstockSpeirs bunny ears!

If I've hit the snooze button on posting, I promise there is good reason but I was waiting for something mammoth and this was exactly that.  Hopefully some of you tuned in to the stream of McQ's show last night but I know how easy it is to forget to time into a live stream so I'm hoping that you'll relish in the palpitating moments backstage before, what I thought was one of the most memorable shows I've seen in a LONG time.  The excacerbated excited tingling may have been caused by the sheer opportunity that I got to go backstage in what was a fairly tight and closed set.  Still, given that one of the first things that I saw when I walked in backstage was Kristen McMenamy stalking around demi-dressed in a robe and a skintight tulle top with velvet appliqued leaves, with an exaggerated coil of hair atop her head, I think exclamation mark laden excitement is well and truly called for.

Let's put this McQ show into context first and foremost.  It is the first time Alexander McQueen's diffusion line McQ has ever had a show.  It's been about ten years since Alexander McQueen the brand has staged any sort of show in London.  McQ the diffusion line, launched back in 2006 has been a dritfting label of the uber casual and denim-based offerings with a few teensy tiny hints to McQueen's house codes.  Sarah Burton has now taken hold of the McQ ship to steer it into a new era, where the collection would slide up the scale, closer to the mainline and a four storey McQ store set to open in London will galvanise that shift.

People on the livestream, who thought they were tuning into a proper Alexander McQueen show would be forgiven for thinking this was slightly minimal for a mainline McQueen show, when in fact this was actually a stellar McQ collection.  I was well and truly floored when I saw the clothes on the rack and the collection pretty much had me when I saw McMenamy, looking hauntingly beautiful from very angle.  

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The final three looks with their nipped in waists and hard-edged delicacy were already a million steps up from what McQ had offered previously.  If the main Alexander McQueen is about as close to haute couture as can be expected in a ready to wear line, then McQ surely had to follow suit to present itself as a collection that takes those fantastical elements and tone them down for the reality of daily wear.  There wasn't a checked shirt or parka jacket in sight and yet the distinction between the two lines is testament to how intricate and artisinal Sarah Burton's work is for the mainline.  McQ's clothes still looked exquisitely made but neither were they the magnificent feats of intense labour that Burton pours into say a ruffled dress made up of hundreds of circular hand massaged chiffon.  For the new customer that has recently been made aware of Alexander McQueen as a brand, due to last year's festivities, McQ will present itself as a better opportunity to be within touching distance of "proper" McQueen.    

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Let's talk about THAT hair first.  I'm not the best at covering beauty and hair backstage and I was definitely trying to pick up tips from the hordes hair and beauty journos.  Overhearing their convo with Guido Palau, who created this incredible feat of hair manipulation, I gleaned that the look was supposed to be an exaggerated 1940s hair roll, made up of a giant hair doughnut with the model's real hair pulled up over it, which looked like a painful process.  I did want to tap Guido's shoulder and say "Hey, you remember me?  You didn't want to do my hair on that Gap Christmas ad campaign because you said it looked fine as it was and I had sad panda face all day because of that."  That would be incredibly sad and dorky though so I resisted the temptation.  

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The boots were also an arduous process.  Thigh high with dozens of eyelets, the lacing up took about three people per model to complete.  They are incidentally the first pair of thigh highs that I've wanted in a long time, which I think has something to do with the shine of the leather and the brogue-like punched detailing.   

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When they practised the finale, which hopefully you'll get to see in its mighty glory once McQ put up the full video, I was pretty hysterical.  That's when I started manically tweeting "Please, guys.  Just watch this."  

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It was really hard not to overdose on shots of McMenamy and her closing look.  

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As for the rest of the collection, it ran the gamut from the pragmatic and slick military moss green coats and jackets to the fantasy of a tutu dress embroidered with flowers.  Everything was waisted and tightened to the proportions that one expects from McQueen.  The Black Watch tartan was more than a nod to the notorious Highland Rape collection and has actually featured in previous McQ collections but looks more polished here as a bustier dress over a lace top or as a dramatic flared out frock coat. The menswear was perhaps slightly erring on the more casual side when compared with the womenswear but that didn't lessen the direction of the show which was WWII military in spirit to begin with and then darkened into a tangible woodland fantasy where burgandy velvet devor√© with leaf motifs, a rainbow cornucopia of fabric flowers and cut silk and knots of silk made to look like moss growing on a rock all take over.  

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The finale, as some of you will have seen, featured McMenamy emerging on to the dried leaf covered catwalk and standing there, illuminated like a Titania-esque statue with leaves falling from above.  She then looks up bewildered and lost and finds nestled under the leaves, a rope that guides her to a dramatic reveal of a woodland scene and into a curious looking hut.  

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Then there's an unexpected blaring of techno from this hidden club, to which we were all invited in to (provided you can elbow your way in through the throng of guests) afterwards for a drink or two with McMenamy revelling in all the photo snapping and looking like she owned this joint called the Core Club.  According to the receipts plastered all over the walls, there are a ton of lifetime members, perhaps an allusion to the lifelong dedicated fans of Alexander McQueen, both brand and person.  That's a Core Club that you can happily sign me up to.       

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Comments (29)

  1. loved reading about this. you’re a damn good journalist.

  2. Duck says:

    Only sliiiightly jealous you got to go backstage! I thought the show was incredible, probably the most dramatic I’ve ever seen in London. So glad they decided to ramp up the quality level of the design – I think a lot of people would have difficulty distinguishing this as a diffusion line from several big name RTW producers… Had goosebumps by the end :)
    Is this what they call a “fashion moment”?
    xxx
    Duck

  3. Emanuel I. says:

    WOW!!!
    Gorgeous hairdos but also pretty cool colection!
    :D

  4. Serdane says:

    I was touched by the universe of this show ! It was the best ever for this LFW. Do you know from where the catwalk is inspired ?
    http://www.younglington.wordpress.com

  5. Domonique says:

    Wow!I wasn’t fortunate enough to tune into this show, but your post has made me feel like I was there on the sidelines. Pretty amazing you got backstage to soak up the entire atmosphere, I agree those boot’s are to die for and I adore the hair!
    http://lilylovelock.blogspot.com/
    x

  6. Heidi says:

    Great post ! I am happy to hear that Sarah has lifted the image of McQ label to another leval as I think it has been needing that for a long time. And nice to hear that Sarah had put in some of that dramatic showmanship that Alexander McQueen was so good at.

  7. laura says:

    stunning. just stunning. I can see why you were so excited by this – sarah has really stepped McQ up!

  8. Great info my dear, thanks for share…Lovely haircuts =)
    Today you can check my look for prespring:
    http://laviequo.blogspot.com/2012/02/1-year.html
    You can translate in upright corner frame.
    XOXO from Munich
    La Vie Quotidienne
    http://www.laviequo.com

  9. WanderingM says:

    Great narration as usual. I really like the feel of this collection, romantic but in a grown-up way, with a touch of opulent decadence.
    Elisa Eymery
    Wandering Minds
    http://ourwanderingminds.tumblr.com/

  10. Elena says:

    woooowwwww!! this post is amazing!
    yesterday i saw you in Somerset house! and I asked if i could take a photo and your answer was no!because your look was bad! I don’t think so, your look was amazing like always.. nice to meet you in person! haha xoxo

  11. Kate says:

    It is all so amazing. Sarah Burton has made Lee very proud indeed.
    Kate
    http://www.thrillofthechaise.com

  12. genevieve hartmann says:

    fantastic blog and journalistic skills! i’ll be following you from now on!

  13. Anahita says:

    These hair sculptures are so bizarre, and yet they seem to complement every outfit perfectly. Also, do I spot a bottle of absinthe? So perfect.

  14. Lip N Stick says:

    OMG this is sooo amazing!! I really love your blog!
    I love the red looks like velvet with a pattern in fabric!! Looks great!!
    http://lipsnstick.blogspot.com

  15. I do not like this style, but very original.
    sara cessione

  16. great post, great show, great collection!!! :-)

  17. Drea says:

    Wow wow! This is just fabulous! The drama! The theatrics! So McQueen!
    Drea xo
    dreasjunkard.blogspot.com

  18. Rustik says:

    FANTASTIC photography people!!! Thank you for putting me THERE!

  19. aga says:

    im really jeaolous of this show!
    agaforfashion.blogspot.com

  20. appy says:

    its amaizing……………. ultimate show, wanted to b d part of it,..

  21. Marlon says:

    Hermoso! Me ha encantado cada detalle, es algo diferente, muy lindo, delicado y femenino!!! Sin duda el cabello es hermoso!… Sarah Burton una belleza! Un abrazo al blog, me gusto mucho! Gracias por la informaci√≥n!.

  22. Samantha says:

    Such a great post! McQ is definitely coming back stronger than ever!

  23. Christy says:

    Thought I saw you snapping away in the corner on the live stream! haha! The whole show was AMAZING and so exciting! I must admit I forgot it was McQ while I was watching, the collection is definitely following in the footsteps of mainline McQueen. Fantastic pictures, well done.
    Christy X

  24. Sarah says:

    That really is some crazy hair!

  25. Jane Alisa says:

    Such a wonderful collection, McQ has never been stronger. Kirsten just looks so breathtaking. xoxo

  26. jean cave says:

    You seem to love all the same stuff I do.
    Gorgeous shots.
    Thanks.

  27. Irish Gifts says:

    It was really amazed to see your collection. Designer’s hard work can be seen easily :)

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