In the current climate, pairing "desert" and "army" would seemingly lead to one inescapable conclusion. But the crop-haired soldiers Alexander McQueen sent down his spring runway were more World War II desert fox than twenty-first-century jarhead. Maybe that's not so unexpected—there's always more romance in the past, and McQueen is one of fashion's most romantic designers. So his patchwork camouflage shorts appeared over a henna-tattooed body stocking, and he put a poncho cut from camouflage netting over sequined leggings.

McQueen's use of color was startling—into a landscape of army green and sand tones, he threw sudden shocks of acid yellow or hot pink. (One of his stunningly bright silk jumpsuits came complete with matching gas mask). He even summoned a genie, his face and body dyed blue, in an incongruous—if perfectly cut—brown suit. But the dramatics couldn't overshadow the true power of McQueen's tailored pieces. What he's mastered with his menswear is an easy, instinctive sensuality that is often missing from his women's collections.