Alla during Alexander McQueen ss 12
"Sanitarium" Joel-Peter Witkin (1983) // “VOSS” Alexander McQueen (2001)
On June 3, 2004, Alexander McQueen presented a retrospective of his work. Entitled the “Black” show, it was in collaboration with American Express, for whom McQueen had designed a new Black card. Inside a mirrored box (a reference to SS01 “Voss”), the show opened with a spirited dance duet between longtime McQueen icons Kate Moss and Michael Clark. Moss wore a slinky dress made out of the skull pattern that had become eponymous with the McQueen brand since it’s debut in the SS03 “Irere” collection.
To follow were re-workings of archival pieces, all in black. The runway would become a container for the elements— McQueen is famous for his elaborate runway shows where models walked on water, ice-skated, were rained upon, were encircle by fire, and were snowed upon, and in this retrospective show, the water and snow were once again present.
Shown above, the standout pieces include the medieval armor top from SS00 “Eye” (which would later be re-worked yet again, in AW09 “Horn of Plenty”, also a retrospective show), a gauzy black dress worn by Gemma Ward from AW02’s “Supercalifragilistic”, and finally, in an darkly dramatic nod to Christianity, a re-imagining of the finale of his famous SS98 show, “Untitled (The Golden Shower)”.
Alexander McQueen, 2000s
The Horn of Plenty, Alexander McQueen A/W 2009
Photographed by Nick Waplington
Alexander McQueen’s fw 2001 show was a truly grotesque piece of grande theatre. The show entitled “What a Merry Go Round”, was presented on giant carousels almost as if taken from a circus back in the 20th century. However, instead of joyous children playing on them, they were haunted by models, who pole danced and walked across them as if it was their last stand. The eerie imagery was expanded by genius makeup by Val Garland, which made the models look like sad and morbid clowns. The clothes found inspiration in a mix of Victorian and 20th century fashions. The show had a number of now iconic looks, like the black and white gown worn by a model who pulled a gold skeleton across the floor, which was attached to her leg.