Last season I fell for Alexander McQueen's playful, younger line, McQ, all over again when Rihanna put a rockabilly spin on their sleeveless tartan puffball dress for her appearance on UK X Factor back in November. With a newly launched e-commerce site, a four storey flagship store due to open this Spring on London's Dover Street, an AW12 showing at London Fashion Week and celebrity fans including Katy Perry, Drew Barrymore and Emma Watson, the British brand has totally raised its game since moving back in house in 2010.
Designed by Pina Ferlisi and overseen by McQueen visionary Sarah Burton, this collection, particularly in terms of design and fabric choices, looks a strategic stepping stone in the grand McQ plan to move the label away from its streetwear, denim and t-shirts roots and make it more upmarket - a parallel to the mainline collections.
This Spring McQ's womenswear puts a quintessentially British spin on the season's emerging cowboy trend as seen coming through subtly at Marc Jacobs and Antopodium, and rioting down the runway at Jeremy Scott. Mixing it up with some signature rebellious McQueen attitude, this youthful SS12 McQ collection is all about surly, sultry Rockabilly style, complete with collar tips and neck ties. I bet Rihanna's all over it.
Neat 50's silhouettes strengthened by pleated, punched and metallic leathers, sit alongside stylized denim in modest, ladylike cuts, while the lace and tulle underskirt and dress confections pack a pretty punch with a Spanish flavour as the cropped bolero makes for an edgier, more urban version of Moschino's Matador.
In a nod to the fashion house's Saville Row heritage, the classic houndstooth check gets a typically McQueen makeover, merging into animal prints as the black-on-pastel palette adds an almost photocopied, cut and paste style punk aesthetic, bringing us back to the brand's rock n roll spirit. In fact, all that's missing from the attitude-packed McQ Spring Summer 2012 collection is a guitar.
The Spring Summer collection is set to drop soon but if you need a quick McQ fashion fix right now, check out the outstanding, eye popping fluoros from the Resort collection (some highlights pictured below), available over on www.alexandermcqueen.co.uk/mcq.