Alexander McQueen's show was nothing short of monumental. The audience sat around a mirrored cube, which, when lit from inside, revealed itself to be a mental-hospital holding cell. Demented girls, wearing hospital headbands and everything from extraordinary mussel-shell skirts to impossibly chic pearl-colored cocktail dresses, slithered and strutted while uselessly attempting to fly over the cuckoo's nest.
McQueen was at his very best: There were gothic, theatrical pieces, like a dress with a miniature castle and rat posing as a shoulder pad; a top made out of a jigsaw puzzle; and a huge feathered creation with stuffed eagles suspended over the model's head, poised to attack à la Hitchcock. But amidst all the insanity, there was a cornucopia of startlingly elegantand wearablepantsuits, flouncy party dresses, and even a spectator pump or two.
How to top off such a climactic presentation? After everyone thought it was all over, another cube within the psychiatric ward-cum-runway opened up to reveal a portly nude woman, her face covered by a mask, breathing through a tube, surrounded by fluttering moths. It was a truly shocking and enthralling tableau: Francis Bacon via Leigh Bowery and Lucien Freud. In a word, sublime.