EXCLUSIVE: McQ Womenswear A/W12

Dazed's Elizabeth Fraser-Bell takes us behind the (theatrical) scenes, with menswear styled by our own Robbie Spencer

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One word to describe life at the McQ studio: seamless. Everyone and everything has a place, as producers Olivier and Sidonie rounded the troops with such charming militance that could only come from years of involvement with the McQueen team. Preparation for this eagerly awaited show has been a surreal experience with such an army of dedicated employees that care so much about the tiniest details, it is easy to see why these collections always look so flawless. This season being no exception, with Sarah Burton scrupulously inspecting each garment and final look during the fittings with such knowledge and excitement.

Menswear was styled by Robbie Spencer and womenswear by Camilla Nickerson, the pair together giving the collection of army surplus gear a dark gothic mood. The menswear took on a gothic Edward scissorhands quality with incredible heavyweight coats that seem to float as the boys are deployed down the catwalk, interspersed between the women's line, progressing from similar khaki and stiff fabrics to a lighter but heavily embellished array of finale dresses whose craftsmanship rivals that of the mainline Alexander McQueen collections.

The location was The Sorting Office, High Holborn. It was calm and collected backstage, the run through was great with Bastian and Daniel's change going well plus everyone got to see how the finale was orchestrated for the first time which created a fantastic buzz and sense of excitement. Once the models came through backstage after the actual show, I have never felt such a  communal sense of euphoria. And not because it was over, but because everything about it was so impactful from Guido's hair to Robbie and Camilla's styling to the design team's incredible creations to the mesmerising set design.

In fact, I barely noticed the soundtrack because I was astounded by the unbelievably ornate set design for the finale, unveiled by recent Dazed cover star Kristen McMenamy. She pulled on a rope that emerged from under the leaves on her way back up the catwalk and a brick wall opened up to reveal woodland with a small hut at the side which flashed in a rave of different colours as the models marched out in cannon at the end. Her finale look was beautiful and I really loved the heavily embroidered dress Zusannah wore too.

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