Style: McQueen takes London by storm

Do you believe the hype? Or is Alexander McQueen having the last laugh? Melanie Rickey reports from last night's McQueen fashion extravaganza.

As day four of London Fashion Week got underway, a few important things became clear. First, it really is the largest, and best-attended set of shows ever. Second, there is more to British fashion than just innovation and over-excitement, and third, it is worth all the hype, especially when there is an Alexander McQueen show on the agenda.

Last night the 28-year-old showed his ninth London Fashion Week collection in a huge warehouse near Victoria. He called it 'Untitled', although it is rumoured the working title, 'Golden Shower', was dropped because American Express Gold Card, who contributed pounds 30,000 to the staging of the show, didn't approve.

As ever, most details were under wraps until the last minute, although McQueen did let slip that ICI were providing materials and technicians to build the set, which, he boasted, was to be the biggest ever.

The crowd was not disappointed. As they entered the venue, they were confronted with a 50ft-long perspex catwalk, half filled with water and lit from underneath with ultra-violet light. At the beginning of the show, lighting struck and loud thunder sounded. It was McQueen's most focused and wearable collection to date. His characteristically sleek, sharp and modern tailoring was at its purest. Models stalked down the catwalk in a succession of sharply cut pinstripe suits, laser cut leather skirts, shiny snakeskin dresses and strapless jumpsuits with low-cut cowl-backed strapless jumpsuits.

They were followed by men in corsets and skirts and women wearing little more than a few leather straps. Mid-show the deafening music stopped, the water within the perspex catwalk began to fill with a dark ink, 'I Can't Stand The Rain' came through the PA and suddenly, as if by magic, it began to pour.

The crowd roared as the models began their walk again - their eye make- up falling like tears down their cheeks.

Kate Moss walked down in a white muslin dress, the trail of which dragged in the puddles as she left the catwalk.

McQueen's favourite model, Honor Fraser, watched from the sidelines because she said McQueen wants to keep his own label separate from Givenchy.

The show was pronounced a hit. Isabella Blow said: "It was precision, it was chic and simple as it was beautiful. I loved it."

The fashion photographer Mario Testino said: "It's not just the clothes McQueen is good at, it's everything, the environment, the theatricality and the fact that it's all so very him, I love that, it's a great start to the season."

McQueen's unstoppable rise to fame began in 1992 when, upon graduation from Saint Martin's with an MA in Fashion Design, and seven years' work experience under his belt, stylist and talent spotter Isabella Blow bought his entire collection for pounds 7,000.

Three years on, when he showed his controversial fourth collection, 'Highland Rape', Alexander McQueen was the name on everyone's lips.

By last October, McQueen was appointed head designer at Givenchy and he also became the youngest winner of the coveted British Designer of the Year award, a title he is expected to win again this year.

McQueen's rise runs as a direct parallel to the fortunes of the British fashion industry as a whole. In 1993, fashion week had 16 fashion shows and a paltry 50 static exhibitors. In just four years London Fashion Week has tripled in size: there are now 54 fashion shows and over 150 static exhibitors participating in the event. This huge jump is reflected in the money generated by designer fashion. In 1989 the UK fashion design industry was worth pounds 185m, this year it is expected to top pounds 600m, with almost half, pounds 264m worth of clothes and accessories, being exported abroad.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London