Drama. Brilliance. Intrigue.
Three words that describe all that emanates from the winter 2008/2009 Alexander McQueen Haute Couture show. As always, McQueen has spun a web of awe to lay upon his avid audience here in Paris this fashion week. The theme of the show was The Girl Who Lived In The Tree, with this thematic tree icon being situated in the center of the podium, enveloped in silk. McQueen appeared to have two separate ideals of inspiration from which he drew, the first set of designs being darker with leggings frequenting the legs of the models, while the second set was clearly contrived from Victorian inspiration. Here it is quite clear that McQueen has taken it back to his British roots; from the high sewing of the 1950's, to the British Empire, and even evident inspiration from the Duke of Wellington. The royal blue and scarlet red corsetted dresses, and the tulle of feathered ballerina gowns that paraded down the runway were simply dazzling. Matched with the razzle-dazzle jewels and maharajah-inspired small slippers that adorned the feet of the models (note that Victoria was an empress of the Indias, hence the Indian influence in the Victorian era), really showed McQueen taking it up a few notches, or perhaps ten. McQueen has always been one to attack the fashion world with controversy and shock tactics, that only make him ever-the-more brilliant with his avant-garde designs. This British designer has a style that is all his own: a theatrical explosion of creatively contrived couture.
But what about behind-the-scenes with one of the fashion world's most prominent designers?Let's take a look at the world behind the majestic curtains, where all the action and creative chaos resides.
Backstage is all a panic, but a pleasant one at that. Hairdressers, runway directors, and make-up artists are scrambling to get their duties done, while excited models lounge about awaiting maquillage and to be called upon. Taking a look at the clothing rack this close is absolutely breathtaking. Bejeweled dressed with corset backs peek out from behind enchanting red gowns. New faces of models look around with happily dazed expressions on their porcelain faces. Abbey Lee giggles to a nearby hairdresser. Well-known returners dawdle around, having done this hundreds of times. Lily Donaldson and Magdalena Frackowiak can be spotted across the room. They come over for a picture, Lily looking charming in a canary yellow ballerina dress, and Magdalena in a captivating white floor-length gown. The young, Belarussian beauty, Tanya Dziahileva, saunters over in a white and red swan princess-esque gown, a mildly bored expression on her luminous face. Her waist-length blonde locks are twisted into an alfalfa-like 'do at the top of her head, and brilliant bijoux dangling from her forehead. All the girls backstage look absolutely ravishing in McQueen's exuberant designs. But wait, what's this? The show is about to begin. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats, and allow yourself to be enchanted by the magnetic allure of Alexander McQueen's Hiver 2008 Haute Couture show. Allons-y!