“Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest milliner in the world: Philip Treacy,” Lady Gaga declared from beneath a fuchsia shroud that once belonged to Isabella Blow, kicking off Treacy’s explosive catwalk debut in London.
Models — including Joan Smalls, under a giant smiley face headpiece, Alek Wek and Jourdan Dunn — sported the designer’s wild creations, which were teamed with the original clothes from Michael Jackson’s tours and music videos, which Treacy had secured from Jackson’s estate.
The King of Pop’s music also provided the soundtrack to the show that featured such creations as a gold mask that grew into a tall organic spiral, a silver conch shape that looked like a drop of mercury, a black cornucopia filled with gold roses, a big gold sun that sat in front of one model’s face and what looked like a traditional Thai headdress, covered in a diaphanous black and gold shroud.
It was an emotional outing — the show was dedicated to Blow, Jackson and Lee Alexander McQueen — and as a gospel choir emerged at the end, there were tears in the front row.
“It was based on Africa getting rich,” said Treacy of the extravaganza. “A future Africa and they just happen to be wearing Michael Jackson’s clothes. Jackson was exceptional — his talent, the dancing, the image, and I was touched to be able to work with his clothes. They were at my studio for a month before the show, and they were really freaking me out. I’d lift up a box, and there’d be a sparkly glove.”