Show Report from vogue.co.uk
“IT’S the sort of thing I would have done six years ago at Givenchy,"Julien Macdonald told us before his show in the austere environment of One Mayfair, North Audley Street tonight. “It’s much more couture than ready-to-wear – a collection full of love and passion and energy that has been really worked on piece by piece, literally. I’ve had about two hours sleep and I’m on a lot of Red Bull – I’ve got a lot of wings!”
With a glitzy line up of fashion bunnies in the front row –Marina Diamandis, Jaime Winstone, Sadie Frost, Melanie Blatt and Bianca Jagger – you’d have been forgiven for thinking this was a return to the Julien Macdonald of old: glitzy, highly charged and sometimes the wrong side of tarty.
But he was telling the truth – for autumn/winter 2011-12 he has created very beautiful dresses of lace and beaded chiffon that were lightly embellished with antler motifs and looked light enough to fall apart at human touch, as if he’d found them in the attic and cast a spell on them to bring them back to sparkling, gorgeous life. Far more than the barely-there slips of the past two seasons, these were constructed of gold embroidery, light lace panelling, sweeping silk and chiffon skirts over laid in intricate metalwork – leaving us in no doubt that they had been painstakingly produced.
“They’re real fantasy gowns but for a rock star girl, they’re not pretty and timeless, they’re modern – they’re Oscar gowns but they’re accessible for the young women, they have a bit of edge,” he went on. And, if they’ve got time before Sunday, the young Hollywood set would be well advised to call in a favour from him.
“He’s really upped the ante,” Vogue’s Kate Phelan said after the show. “There was a richness to it that was far more considered, but there’s always an emphasis on sexiness in everything he does.”
Inspired by the Scottish highlands, Macdonald explained that his muse this season was a girl who had escaped from a stuffy country existence and run away to indulge her need to be a hardcore rock chick. “She loves listening to rock music – she’s angry at having been brought up the way she has been and she wants to live a life that her parents never wanted her to live – hence the aggressive daywear: goat hair, leather, savage fox – it’s sheer aggression.”
The heavy metal music and punchy goat hair parkas, shredded wool dresses and biker jackets made the point nicely – and provided plenty of Gothic, hardcore choices for the non-Oscar attendees among us that will pay Macdonald’s bills, too. They also served to emphasise the beauty of the dresses and Macdonald’s skill at bringing fantasy fashion to life.