A shadowy figure emerged against the white-ish background,negotiating her way across the bumpy, bleak terrain, patches of itswintry brown moss covered in snow. In the darkness she’s only asilhouette, a fluid triangle, a hint of white fluttering beneath herknees. “It’s beauty and the beast, a wild beauty,” said Sarah Burtonbackstage before her Alexander McQueen show. “And there’s kind of aninnocence, but stripped back and liberated.”

Burton got it wrong. Not beauty and the beast; beauty was thebeast in a show that felt like a dangerous, magical fairy tale come tolife. Gorgeous creatures made wild by circumstance radiated innergentleness in sharp contrast to spring’s warrior-woman bravado. Theywore graceful trapeze and empire shapes while, on the surface, intensityreigned with elaborately wrought textures. These could be as sweet ascotton eyelet or as visceral as a dress crafted from fox pom-poms andgoat fur.

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