Grand was certainly the word for this collection, from the baroque palazzo to the sweeping lines of the opening coat, an astrakhan-collared floor-length coat in cardinal red.
The aesthetic allure of a man in uniform has been a fashion staple for centuries rather than mere seasons. Certainly, it was something Lee Alexander McQueen turned to time and again - for both his men's and women's collections. It made sense, therefore for new Creative Director Sarah Burton to continue in that grand tradition.
Grand was certainly the word for this collection, from the baroque palazzo to the sweeping lines of the opening coat, an astrakhan-collared floor-length coat in cardinal red. That captured some of the monumental drama McQueen was all about - although that was confined to the clothing alone in the small salon-style show held in an intimate baroque palazzo. That was intended as a bridge, perhaps, between last season's presentation and the fire and brimstone McQueen histrionics of past, and indeed it felt as if this whole collection was walking a tightrope between old and new.
Sometimes, it wobbled. The first great coat lived up to its name in both respects, with enormous lapels and a dashing sweep of skirt cut with a cavalier swagger. The same shapes cropped up later, the face-framing revers in leather or sheepskin attached to neat little pea-coats or even layered under the lapels of pinstripe suits. The upturned collar on one version revealed an elaborately embroidered crest, echoed in elaborate insignia printed across silk bombers and a couple of monumental capes looped up at the back and sides and topped with militia caps.
But what was there of substance next to that style? Next to the cut of those jibs, neat little checked blazers, sensible navy pinstripes and a few half-mast trousers felt slightly anaemic. They will obviously be the commercial core of the collection - but, easy as it was to imagine them hanging in the shops come September, it's equally easy to envisage them cluttering sales racks next January. The rare moments when the drama fused with actual dress were the best: vests bordered with bands of contrasting colour like imperial insignia, and a mid-calf length coat with a waistcoat slung over, flapped, strapped and buttoned to within an inch of its life. Complicated, intricate and no doubt neigh-on impossible to manufacture. Let's hope they find a way.