Almost-faceless models stormed the runway with a warped tangle of oiled hair swept over their face like imposing gas masks. Created by hair stylist Julien d'Ys, the horror flick-esque looks felt as though they had descended straight from a dark and deranged nightmare.
Stalking a disused Welsh Chapel like vampires in tune Bauhaus’ ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’, Alexander McQueen's models stepped out kohl-eyed and crow feathered, with black quills pierced and tangled into damp, tousled hair.
“Crossed Crocodiles Growl” was the title of Walter Van Beirendonck's AW14 show. Taking inspiration from Africa – where the crocodile instead symbolises unity rather than ferocity – his collection saw new-age tribalism brought to the forefront with Stephen Jones' towering feather headdresses. Faces were lashed by make-up artist Inge Grognard with red paint in replication of the intricate patterns that adorned the invitation, as well as shorn into the heads of other's.
Taking heed from the 70's Punk movement, wigs were most likely hacked away with a pair of kitchen scissors: rebellious razor-cut Bowie do's mixed amongst blood-red mohawks and Clockwork Orange hell-raiser Alex DeLarge styles that bobbed at the ears – anti-establishment at its finest.
Netting swept over the face – tightening around the ears and under the chin – as models stalked a basketball court. The masks, possibly an interpretation of the basketball nets that peg each end of the field, saw a more stripped-down continuation of the womenswear SS14 Kabuki masks (which were also embellished with netting). Inspired by Bauhaus, Riccardo Tisci explained that the AW14 masks were a nod to 1920's men who would wear a similar style to protect their preened looks as they slept.
Resembling a nun's habit, Owen's headpieces this season were of minimal texture and shape. Hair was pulled underneath and ears were covered by swathes of cloth in shades of dull grey, black and purist white, giving an ominous cult-like feel that has become synonymous with the designer.
The Dolce & Gabbana kingdom meshed medieval with modern for AW14, continuing the now-common thread of Southern Italian history and heritage that has narrated the duo's recent designs – this season was inspired by the Norman invasion of Sicily. Knights and kings swarmed the runway swapping traditional chain mail for knitted, embellished coifs and show-stopping bejweled crowns which topped off modern, oversized sweatshirts superimposed with the imprint of rulers past.
Brylcreem and blue glitter created a hybrid of oil slick Lego-man hair styles with an undeniable futuristic sci-fi mood. Hair was wrapped in cling film, painted and shrink-dried with Membrane gas – the result? The arrival of an army of hot, urban aliens.
Back in June, Nasir Mazhar explained to us, “It is such a change to wear a mask. I suppose it can be seen as quite a shocking thing to not be able to see someone’s face. Somehow that is just instantly interesting, isn’t it?” For AW14, his creations took on a villainous Bane-like quality: pretty in pink, but edged with vents, straps and Mazhar's signature street-style attitude.
Like coloured DJ strobe lights, flashes of neon streaked model's hair in a kaleidoscope of cobalt blue, magenta pink and lime green, setting forth an amalgamation of rave-culture, scientific deconstruction and centuries-old rituals that sat at the forefront of the show.