Under the Sea

Jessica Olin

Alexander McQueen’s futuristic Spring 2010 show in Paris, entitled ‘Plato’s Atlantis’, featured alien-princess hairdos, exquisite digital-snakeskin party frocks, and 10-inch jewel-encrusted lobster-claw ‘shoes’ resembling nothing so much as Wikus’s mangled arm from District 9. It’s always fun to see fashion editors scrambling for words like ‘antediluvian’, but according to a press release, there’s a cyclical-ecological view at work here: McQueen is concerned about the dissolving polar ice cap and worries that we’re heading back to an underwater future.

But if the coming environmental meltdown involves black leather gladiator skirts, peacock-eye prints and softly gleaming seaweed-green silk harem pants, I’m all for it, whited-out eyebrows be damned. McQueen’s effects included a coiling Medusa lightshow and robotic cameras on rolling tracks, craning and cocking their heads at the models like curious Jurassic Parkpredators. A droney ambient soundtrack gave way to rainforest noises, a metallic 1990s-era Tunnel beat, and what sounded like Darth Vader breathing through his mask – deep-sea diving? Lost civilisations, indeed. The models came across as regal, ethereal and tough.

The only sour note came from Lady Gaga, who premiered her new single during the show’s finale and who, if she doesn’t stop blathering on about Art, will soon become as tiresome as post-Beatty Madonna. Like her predecessor, Gaga seems intent on trading in the playful cocaine froth of ‘Just Dance’ for Statements and teacups. Not only that, her Twitter announcement led to the SHOWstudio livefeed crashing.

Gaga’s Be-Your-Brand monomania is more suited these days to Marc Jacobs, who’s gone from lovable pudgy nerd to beskirted gym rat with an ever-expanding tattoo collection. Looking like an ordinary bloke, McQueen darted onstage for an almost embarrassed wave.