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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own