Take Marilyn Monroe, add a little Elvis and finish with a liberal sprinkling of Bardot and you have, essentially, McQueen’s A/W 2005 collection ‘The Man Who Knew Too Much’ (which can be seen in full here). Named after the Hitchcock film, the collection drew upon every ’60s cliché (think glamour girls, the rockers, rockabillies) and teamed it with an equally cliché soundtrack (lots of Elvis.) McQueen is said to have left the show without offering any comment on the collection, which further solidifies the fact that this collection left many with nothing in particular to say.
It is perhaps unfairly harsh to call this one of weakest collections, yet it doesn’t even begin to match the dizzying heights of McQueen’s earlier work. The clothing itself is beautiful – the fuzzy mohair dresses look incredible teamed with the towering Bardot beehives, as do the form-fitting leopard-print dresses (an impressive feat – animal-print can often look more ‘barmaid’ than ‘bombshell’). Elsewhere, exaggerated snood-like knitted collars added a touch of drama to the tight-fitting silhouettes and a series of Navajo capes spiced up the otherwise uninspired collection.
Overall, it is unfair to call this a bad collection. The models were knockouts with their bouffants and the collection was wearable, classically beautiful and made a lot of money for the McQueen house, particularly in terms of accessories (the 'Novak' bag was displayed here for the first time and shortly became one of the house's bestsellers, re-issued several times). However, after ‘It’s Only A Game’ showcased re-interpretations of the designer’s work more was expected from the presentation that followed it. The sixties concept is one which has been done to death and, most importantly, it is one that has been better executed by other designers. The fashion itself was beautiful, but McQueen can do better than merely designing attractive clothing – at his best he is an innovator, a trend-setter and a pioneer. At his worst, he has taken an overdone concept and created a satisfactory collection.