Designer Sarah Burton sent a procession of queen bees wearing honeycomb dresses, insect-like visors and caramel corsets cinching their waists into Paris at the Alexander McQueen spring-summer show.
Guests waiting for the show to begin were greeted by a giant screen with nature footage that morphed and spun kaleidoscope-like into the symmetrical patterns beloved of the designer.
As a soundtrack, an insistent hum which turned out to be the buzz of a bee hive, as Burton built her whole collection around that timeless symbol of spring -- adding in a wry commentary on women-as-candy as she went.
For these were no sugar babes: the look was edgy and raw as the first models stepped out in structured little jackets in a black and gold honeycomb motif, flared hips and waists strangled in rigid belts of a honey-like caramel hue.
The crisp caramel reappeared as corsets and collars, and body-sculpting little bustiers glimpsed under wide-necked jackets.
On their heads, there were bee-like visors in a black resille while dresses were segmented by bands and corsets, subtly suggesting the articulated body and stripes of a bee.
Corsets were belted Elizabethan-style over sheer dresses, with flounced silk skirts, while on others a wide bustle was visible in transparency, including on the final sweeping ball gowns.
By way of conclusion, the lyrics of the 1969 bubblegum hit by The Archies -- "Sugar, ah honey honey / You are my candy girl" -- rang out like a sign-off, sent with more than a touch of humour, by the British designer.