Last night’s McQ show was, if not fashion history, then certainly London Fashion Week history. The diffusion line’s first runway show brought back some of the drama of Lee McQueen’s early shows with a spectacular finale.
We crunched over a carpet of thick red and gold leaves to our seats, with Anna Wintour, Salma Hayek and Samantha Cameron dotting the front row.
The show opened to strains of James Newton Howard's "Deer Hunting" (from the I am Legend soundtrack--but trust me it worked) and the clothes were a dazzling mix of army-toned frock coats, lace up thigh high boots, and tulle skirts embellished with appliquéd flowers. There were kilts, tartan, and strong leather menswear thrown in for good measure.
Then out glided Kristen McMenamy, ghostly white in a full skirted leaf motif dress. She was lit by a single spotlight, and began the signature fainting ballerina moves that are synonymous with older McQueen shows such as the Spring/Summer 2004 “They shoot horses” collection (see it on YouTube here and here).
McMenamy swayed back and forth ominously before leaning down to pick up a hidden white rope from the floor. She haltingly pulled herself along the length of the runway, and what previously appeared to be a brick wall at the back of the show dissipated into thin air. There was a collective gasp as a thick mist cleared to reveal a forest of nearly 60 real, full grown trees with a small house nestled in the middle. Dramatic classical music rose as Kristen disappeared into the woods and the room plunged into darkness, lit only by the faint midst through the trees. Then came a pulsing light show inside the house and thumping techno music while the models took their final lap around the room.
As everyone rose from their seats in awe we were guided away from the entrance and told to exit through the forest. Posters on arrival had proclaimed the after party would be at the “Core Club” and as we moved closer to the little house in the woods we saw a neon sign proclaiming it was just that. We jostled to get closer and enter the house to find Kristen serving drinks in a tiny room papered with receipts, a small TV and endless vintage bottles. Stumbling out into the freezing cold London night, we mainly overheard “I have to Tweet this” but other half of the crowd were in silent awe at the most incredibly special ending to an exhausting full day of shows.