Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 Review

Alexander McQueen Spring 2012

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Alexander McQueen Spring 2012 show

Show: Alexander McQueen

Hair: Guido Palau

Makeup: Peter Phillips

Accessories: Lace hoods covering the heads—and sometimes the face, towering, elaborately-decorated platform shoes

Overall takeaway: Sarah Burton brings chills and thrills to her new, darker vision of McQueen femininity

The underseas theme has been thoroughly dredged this season, no less than half-a-dozen collections drawing on the iconography of oceanography from their inspirational gist. Could anyone add something new to that mix? Well, not anyone, but Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen certainly could.

Those who predicted that after the overexposed Dress Of Which We Do Not Speak, Burton would go down Spring '12's well-trod route of light and carefree femininity was in for a decided shock. The first outfits, granted, were feminine enough, their empire waists bouncing with ruffles and skirts kicking into fullness at the knee. Burton said she wanted them to look like jellyfish, and in one of those signature multifaceted McQueen prints, she achieved her aim.

But when models began to emerge with their faces veiled in lace, and creeping barnacles started to clamber up delicate chiffon dresses, you knew you were in for a true McQueen spine-tingler. Thrilling and chilling in equal measure, this collection captured the ever-present darkness in McQueen's vision of beauty to perfect effect, while still offering plenty of exquisite clothes. Example: the final, entirely-embroidered ball gown encrusted with minute silver sequins, with a scaled skirt trailing like a sea witch's tail behind. After all, there is no excellent beauty, that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. And this show was truly excellent.