There was no way to slot the ten outfits that were shown as Alexander McQueen's Fall collection into the general spectrum of the season. The handful of looks (really, it was five, plus a variant of each) was created while Sarah Burton was in the last stages of pregnancy. The precedents for such a situation in fashion are few and far between. Phoebe? Stella? Burton's aesthetic has always been much more convoluted than her peers anyway, so the extraordinary circumstance in which she found herself just amplified something that was already there.
That something first appeared in her pre-fall collection, with its focus on the humble piety of Low Church Anglicans. Quite why this should occur to Burton as the genesis of a fashion collection is the sort of divine inspiration that is best left to her and her maker. But its elevation to the full-blown extravagance of the ten looks shown here perversely made a lot more sense. If pre-fall was about humility and purity, Fall nailed the excesses of Catholicism in a way that would have warmed the heart of ferocious anti-papist Lee.
Burton divided the ten into five subgroups: Communion, nuns, cardinals, popes, and angels. In a scarcely believable but timely twist for McQueen, Britain's most senior Catholic cardinal has just stepped down in the wake of one of those sex scandals that endlessly plague the Vatican in the twilight of its domain. Burton coincidentally garbed her cardinal duo in outfits that would have done a Vegas showgirl—or a cross-dressing cleric—proud. And, bearing in mind the about-to-be-well-documented propensity of clergymen for outré behavior, she dressed her papal twosome as right royal queens of the British Isles.
It was a brief but glorious pageant, staged in the appropriately OTT Opéra Comique, with all the subversive glee that one could wish to be attached to a McQueen attack on the propriety of church and state. The technique was obsessive to a fault—two weeks per outfit, ventured one awestruck source. Backstage, the models loomed head and shoulders above the minions fluttering around them. As they idly contemplated their pearl knuckle-dusters and languidly sipped sodas through the cages that framed their faces, they could scarcely have known that their gilded perfection was the most sublimely punkish assault on orthodoxy.
So that's what's on a girl's mind when she's having twins.