The designer Alexander McQueen’s early runway collections developed his reputation for controversy and shock tactics (earning the title ‘l’enfant terrible’ and ‘the hooligan of English fashion’), with trousers aptly named ‘bumsters’ and a collection titled ‘Highland Rape’, McQueen’s theatrical staging of cruelty in 032c magazine, referring to his dark and tortured renderings of Scottish history.
British fashion is self confident and fearless. It refuses to bow to commerce, thus generating a constant flow of new ideas whilst drawing in British heritage.
One of McQueen’s most celebrated and dramatic catwalk shows was his 2001 Spring/Summer collection, named VOSS. The centre piece tableau that dominated the room was an enormous glass box. But because the room outside the box was lit and the inside of the box was unlit, the glass walls appeared as large mirrors, so that the seated audience saw only their own reflection. When the show began, lights came on inside the enormous glass case and revealed the interior to be filled with moths and, at the centre, a naked model on a chaise longue with her face obscured by a gas mask. The glass walls then fell away and smashed on the ground.
I’ve had good times; I’ve had bad times.
Lee Alexander McQueen 17 March 1969
Alexander McQueen, McQ!