Following one of his most theatrical presentations to date, McQueen introduced ‘Pantheon As Lecum’ (which can be seen in full here) by announcing that he had decided to forgo the theatrics for this collection and focus purely on design. It is true that there’s no huge concept behind his A/W 2004 show (which is rare), but the aesthetics are as gorgeous as ever and the show also, ironically, produced one of the most recognisable runway images of McQueen’s career. The staging was still as spectacular as ever, with the runway becoming an enormous glowing landing pad complete with spaceship. Gigantic video screens projected footage taken from space interspersed with videos of meteors and accompanied by a techno soundtrack – it was instantly clear that McQueen had gone galactic.
The colour palette for the show was white, clean and clinical, adding a touch of lightness to the designer’s famously macabre aesthetic. The make-up followed suit, with models sporting bleached eyebrows, lashings of frosted white eyeshadow (much in the same way that he used it in ‘The Overlook’) and curly pixie-cut wigs which only served to emphasise the strange beauty of opening model Gemma Ward. For the first half of the show the clothing was extremely delicate – textile choices focused around fine knits, super-soft leather, suede and sheepskin, which soon evolved into thick flared velvet skirts and shaggy furs.
The opening chords of Kate Bush’s ‘Baboushka’ usher us firmly into the evening section of the show, a section which revolves around graphic oversized florals printed onto gowns of all silhouettes engineered in midnight blue silk. Here, McQueen toys with asymmetric necklines, empire waists and even kimonos before the lights drop and the show’s finale begins. Setting the scene with atmospheric twinkling and the distant muttering of a strong wind, the soundtrack reverts to Bush as a model glides onto the landing pad in a voluminous sci-fi gown accessorised with illuminated collar. Behind her walks another model in a stiff silver dress patterned with criss-crossed stripes which flash into action as the lights begin to flicker. The show comes to a climax with one of the most impressive dresses of the designer’s career – with its miniscule waistline and layers of organza, the dress is accessorised with an illuminated floral neckpiece that buries the model’s delicate face as she walks into the centre of the runway ready to be beamed back to her planet. By mixing fashion, futurism and technology, McQueen had managed once again succeeded in captivating his audience and creating a flawless collection.