It was close encounters of the third kind at Alexander McQueen tonight—or to the nth degree, considering the tech issues. As you may well know, the buzz had been building around the collaboration with Nick Knight, who was to stream the show live on SHOWstudio, providing a multimedia, intercontinental, trans-dimensional extravaganza that would catapult us into a new media age. Or something like that. With a huge LCD screen and two gigantic robotic arms with hi-def cameras prepared to beam the spectacle around the globe and beyond, it was a fantasy straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The crowd was in awe, anxiously awaiting the T-minus countdown. But alas, all technology is susceptible to glitches, and apparently SHOWstudio’s server short-circuited and the simulcast was delayed indefinitely. The tech-savy crowd took advantage of the unforeseen situation to Tweet every miniscule development, from the exact seat locations of every notable editor to descriptions of the set, and of course speculate on the whereabouts of Anna Wintour. After about 45 minutes, we heard applause backstage, and we were ready for take off.
Those familiar with McQueen’s ouvre know that he usually aligns himself with one of two extremes: either totally romantic (as in the rapturous Passage to India collection) or hard-core sci-fi (as in fall’s post-apocalyptic vision). This collection fell somewhere in the middle, a kind of cross between Queen Anne and Stargate, with starched ruffs, power shoulders, facial implants and torqued, gravity-defying dos. It also featured some of the most vertiginous footwear since Olivier Theyskens’ stilt-boots for Nina Ricci. Kudos to the models for making the alien invasion look believable, marching onward with nary a wobbly ankle in the bunch.
Yet despite all the theatrics, the massive video and swinging robotic arms, these clothes felt tame by McQueen standards. There were a lot of pretty flounced dresses in the prismatic prints he’s been exploring over the last couple of seasons; a lot of his signature bold shoulders, accented by dramatic collars; some tight pantsuits; and some intriguing sculptural cocktail dresses that looked like Zaha Hadid’s architectural models. The gold sequined jumpsuit with matching heels during the finale knocked the collection into another orbit. Discerning listeners may have noticed that Lady Gaga’s new track, Bad Romance, was previewed during the finale—only a coincidence, we’re sure.