At some point in the recent past, Alexander McQueen took a month to travel around the Indian subcontinent. The trip was significant enough that he saw it as a pilgrimage. But how to incorporate such a realization into a fashion collection? McQueen endeavored to establish a mood by printing his own photo of Mount Everest on the show invitation and playing a soundtrack of wind howling at the roof of the world as the audience filed in. But after that? The music switched to eighties English indie (the Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen), and the Enlightenment of the East—and all other ethnic inspirations—became an exotic accessory to what was fundamentally a collection of finely tailored suits, shirts, and trousers (and rather gorgeous shoes).

To take one especially spectacular example: A traditional paisley pattern (Persian in origin) was embroidered on the sleeves of a coat, then it trailed off down the leg of the matching trousers before reappearing on the lapels of a suit and the shoulders of a sweater (which also featured a leopard-print collar). Here's another illustration: Sheeshedar, the mirrored Indian fabric you've seen in markets since time immemorial (or at least since hippies crossed the landmass from Asia to America), was used to make a pair of trousers—and matching shoes. Then it was teamed up with a poncho that could have been sliced from shaggy white yak wool. Just perfect for the backstage area of a Led Zeppelin reunion concert, but curiously incongruous for a McQueen fashion moment. Perhaps that was the problem with this show. Its polyglot Mongol-slash-Maya National Geograph-ism felt like arbitrary window dressing for the designer's much darker, more refined aesthetic. Still, that cardigan with the attached blanket may come in handy for the next Ice Age.