There’s no telling what to expect from an Alexander McQueen show, but a good way to begin would be to eliminate all of the season’s usual suspects. Spring has a way of squashing fall’s poised restraint and replacing it with a lack of inhibition usually reserved for overheated youngsters gyrating around an ice-cream truck. At McQueen, however, the likelihood of glimpsing a lick of garish neon or an artfully ripped T-shirt is preposterously low. For spring, as always, Sarah Burton railroaded the trendspotters with pieces that were lush, ornate, and peerlessly regal.
One of Lee McQueen’s most distinguishing traits was his passion for nature and wildlife. Over the past decade we’ve watched armadillos, birds of prey, and deer roam his runways. Acknowledging this, Burton ventured into the life aquatic to come up with a Bolshoi-Ballet-meets-Splash spectacle of watercolor prints, gill-like ruffles, and fathoms of pleated organza simulating coral reef. There was a gilded corseted skirt suit that mirrored the upright majesty of Poseidon’s seahorses, as well as embellished collars that seemed to have their roots in Soviet scuba helmets or Triton’s battle-ready regalia. Perhaps best of all were the headpieces, veiled skullcaps that resembled broken marble busts slowly corroding underwater.