Kristen McMenamy closed the McQ show in a white tea-length tulle gown. She stopped at the end of the catwalk and stood still. A few leaves rained over her. She found a white rope buried under the foliage and as she pulled it, the backdrop fell to reveal an autumn forest wonderland complete with trees and a building, shadowed ominously in the distance. Then the strobe lights kicked in and the soft poetic imagery descended into a full scale rave. Naturally.
Established in 2006, McQ intends to be the low-key little sister of the Alexander McQueen label. But, of course, you can count on Sarah Burton's showmanship to turn it into an extravaganza. It's an affordable, wearable diffusion line but thankfully doesn't shy away from the high-end tailoring and tactful design that McQueen inherently promotes.
The exaggerated hour-glass silhouette favoured by McQueen since the early 2000s was interpreted under a military theme. Khaki jackets had bold labels, a cinched in waist and a full, splaying skirt. More subtle pieces were embroidered with climbing ivy or teamed with fearless accessories like laced boots and long leather gloves.
As dresses emerged, the overall look softened to become almost wistful. There was delicate sheer embroidered lace and sensual hues such as deep red and ox blood that complemented the warm autumnal scenery. The most captivating dresses appeared like a newly blossomed flowerbeds laid out on tulle. The kaleidoscopic colours contrast hauntingly against the black tulle and opened up the depth of detail.
The collection had all the tantalising plot-points of a classic McQueen fairytale. From romance to fear, the show was wholly dramatic but the collection was calmer and more commercial than we've seen from the brand in quite some time. With plans to develop this diffusion line into the larger sphere, this could leave some room for the main McQueen line to step into couture. I'll keep my fingers crossed.