February 16, 2013 London
The proceedings started in quite an odd fashion, with Michael Nyman's soundtrack for Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover used as seating music. While the pop girl band the Saturdays appeared en masse to this cacophony of woodwind and a frenzy of flash photography, there were thoughts of light entertainers being cannibalized, maybe even eaten alive. It was the same razzle-dazzle of a Macdonald show, but even more so this time: This collection was about Las Vegas. Yes, showgirls and party girls were both in the audience and on the catwalk. As the designer said after his show: "I always do things that make me happy and reflect my life. Last year I went to Las Vegas and I had an amazing time. Everybody is dressed up there; everyone is a superstar; everyone parties night and day…in fact, there is no day, only night! Viva Las Vegas!"
Daywear in this collection? No, not a jot. Eveningwear and early-hours-of-the-morning wear? Yes, plenty. In fact, the show notes consisted of a list of casinos: It appears each look was named after one. He called his muse this season a "grunge deluxe woman," and deluxe she was indeed; the intense workmanship was quite astonishing. It ran the gamut of knitting techniques, and loaded up with glitter, sequins, rhinestones, and chains though they were, they were also handled with an intense delicacy and attention to detail. Is Macdonald Britain's answer to Bob Mackie? After this collection, maybe so. Especially after perusing one quite astonishing catsuit with a shaggy, almost dégradé sequin technique. But above all, the designer knows himself and the women he unashamedly idealizes and wants to appeal to: "She's glamorous, but a party girl. It's 5 or 6 in the morning. Her hair's grungy; her eye makeup is smudged; she's had a cocktail—she doesn't care!" And neither does Julien Macdonald. In a good way.