Alexander McQueen has changed. The commanding impresario who once took delight in scaring and astonishing his audience with stadium-filling shows and designing at the brink of scandal hasif we're to judge by the past two seasonsjoined the regular ranks of ready-to-wear designers who line up their models like soldiers and march 'em on out with the collection.
What that leaves us with is a clear view of clothes. Black suits, to start withand though you couldn't exactly call them straight, something's changed in the cut of their jib, too. For spring, McQueen's signature tailoring has lost its exaggerated waist and jutting shoulders, and been replaced by more-wearable spencers with buttoned-back lapels. Beneath, he shows short flippy skirts, shorts, or pants with black opaque tights. There's a faint girl-rocker air about themand a cape with a silver-beaded phoenix on the back somewhere in therebut nothing to scare the horses.
For night, the part of the show McQueen said was inspired by Greek goddesses, things took a turn for the disappointingtiny pleated silver lamé dresses, white crystal-beaded gowns and pieces made in bandage wrappings of white or gold elastic. The slot formerly occupied by his showstopping extravaganzas is now serviced by metalwork body costumes with all the finesse of something left over from an eighties sci-fi TV series. Gone, even, are the staggeringly made, couture-grade fantasy gowns that have brought so many brides banging on his door. Though some of his moves are clearly being made in an effort to sellno criticism in itselfthis show, from a designer whose capabilities have won such respect, was a letdown.