Lady Gaga made a breath taking walk down the catwalk shrouded in pink tulle. Then in a powerful tone she shouted “Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatest milliner in the world, Philip Treacy, in the clothes of Michael Jackson. The audience had to be amazed as Philip Treacy’s off-the-wall show began as it was to continue on through until the end; dramatically unforgettable.
The brainchild of Jackson costume designers Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins, who charged the 45-year-old Irish milliner with the task of creating unique headpieces to match a host of Jackson’s most iconic outfits, the show, held last night in the Royal Courts of Justice, was as much a celebration of Treacy’s greatest hits as it was Jackson’s.
Led by the formidable Lady Gaga, who opened the show with a speech in which she hailed Treacy as “the world’s greatest milliner”, an army of black models clad in Jackson attire delighted the London Fashion Week crowd and a front row that included Grace Jones, Dita Von Teese and Kim Cattrall.
The clothes, which included the black Spandex outfit from Jackson’s Scream video and the suit he wore during the Bad tour, were unveiled alongside an array of headwear including a brass conical headpiece, a wire cage detailed with flashing lights and a Perspex helmet. Destined for an auction at which they will be sold to raise funds for Guide Dogs of America and the Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas, Jackson’s stage wardrobe was a perfect match for Treacy’s non-conformist approach to hat making.
Among the show’s most memorable pieces was seen when Alek Wek brought huge applause coming out wearing a white Michael Jackson glove hat, and one on her hand which incited her to throw some serious shapes for the cameras. The sparkling glove was draped in a black lace veil and designed to celebrate the memory of Treacy’s late friends Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen. Everyone was dancing, from the swaggering models who each had their own take on the King of Pop, to the rapt front row.
The millinery extravaganza, which came as a surprise to the fashion crowd who knew nothing of its contents before arriving at the Royal Courts of Justice last night, ended with a performance from a gospel choir who sang a rendition of Jackson’s 1993 hit Will You Be There.
Oh, the hats, There were huge swooping planetary rings and ornate golden headdresses that belonged in ancient sacred rituals. There were plumes of feathers and crystal-encrusted masks. LED lights and primitive warrior masks. There was even a shimmering ivory ship with sails billowing that poignantly recalled the late Isabella Blow.
The glitzy front row was made up of starlets like Kelly Brooke, Kim Cattrell and Delilah flanked by revered fashion figures: Vivienne Westwood ,Sarah Burton and Gareth Pugh all came to support the Irish designer, while music legends Brian Ferry and Nick Rhodes represented the charts.
The result was one of the most breathtaking, although entirely absurd, fashion shows to ever take place on the London Fashion Week schedule.