|As usual, Alexander McQueen forfeited his right to a simple catwalk presentation and this season placed his audience in a Lewis Carroll-esque Wonderland. On a giant chessboard, models acted as human chess pieces in a show that couldn't fail to promote the designer as one of the world's most talented.
After all, if a man can create costumes with such vivid imagination and true mastery, how can he fail when he puts his mind to beautiful, wearable clothes?
McQueen's genius is in his ability to do both at once, thereby masterminding events that simultaneously delight his ultra-hip audiences and his bosses at the Gucci Group. Clothes wise, we saw shrunken school-boy blazers and perfectly-tailored cropped trousers in navy blue and slate gray, followed by flouncy, high-waisted skirts with scalloped hems, that came under prim blouses and neckties.
Mussed up buns, faded floral voluminous skirts and ankle booties all proclaimed Edwardiana a major player, while stiff corsets and exquisitely-structured jackets were impressive as only McQueen can be. Lemon yellow chiffon sundresses added a decidedly sunny twist to the show, whose inspiration stirred a healthy dose of Grimm's fairy tale into the 1975 film, Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Finally, the stars of the show emerged, including knights complete with moulded corset armour, pony-tailed headpieces and saddlebag skirts which overemphasized the hips, and a queen in a dusty pink pouf-ball dress with bell sleeves and a giant spiky crown. And then the game began.
As an electronic voice dictated the moves, the models faced off one-by-one, so the crowd could get a better look at the richly-embroidered kimono-style gowns, gilded coats and frothy skirts. "Checkmate!" was all there was left to say.