Alexander McQueen launches Autumn/Winter 2020 Campaign

20.08.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

If it’s one thing one can always look forward to it is the undeniable beauty behind an Alexander McQueen campaign. This season the brand tapped photographer Jamie Hawkesworth as the creative behind their Autumn Winter 2020 campaign. The campaign features models Anok Yai , Sora Choi & Jil Kortleve as they’re pictured with the striking romantic silhouettes of the AW 2020 collection against a serene English countryside background. Also front and centre is the house’s The Tall Story bag, created in line with the colour scheme of the runway. With a structor made up of sculptural lines & modern metallic handles, the elegant tote bag embodies the flexibility of being carried in hand or on the shoulder with its leather straps. The Tall Story is available in a variety of versions including black oversized quilting, black stamped croc or handmade patchwork.  View the full campaign below.

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Alexander McQueen Pre-AW20 – Sharp Lines & A Strong Heritage

16.07.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Pre-Autumn Winter 20 Menswear was the season Sarah Burton opted to hone the heritage of the house of McQueen with the use of sharp lines and signature shoulders. The collection includes 5 looks that explore the signature features of the house’s standard menswear and womenswear , through the use of several techniques for each look . One presents the use of a different method including cut and splice tailoring , while another sees the a perfect suit with slashed seams and another sees the reinvention of signature blown up floral embroideries and delicate white work that were derived from an inspirational trip to Scotland. Discover more of the collection via AlexanderMcQueen.com 

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Alexander McQueen Pre-AW20 – British art nouveau & a restrained elegance of modernism

26.06.2020 | Fashion | BY:

This week British fashion house Alexander McQueen unveiled their Pre-AW20 collection crafted by Creative Director Sarah Burton under themes of British art nouveau and arts and crafts paired with a restrained elegance of modernism. The collection features 41 looks with a refined colour palette of silver, gold, copper and reds throughout as they tell a story of the earth’s core and the treasure hidden beneath them. With this collection Burton comes bearing gifts of the team’s expert tailoring with sharply cut hems, tightly closed seams and even some draping. A simple black leather asymmetric drape coat speaks for itself with accents of gold metal staple detailing,  so does a gold double-faced metallic rib knit dress, as it’s paired with a crochet mesh skirt, an amethyst silk satin dress with a fluid cape back and gold are nouveau twisted iris embroidery gives a subtle yet power effect.

As always each piece from the collection is a testament to the power of womanhood as they are crafted with the level of dexterity that creates silhouettes demands the attention of a room while adding touches of delicacy with soft colour palettes, embroidery and draping. To discover more about the Alexander McQueen Pre-AW20 collection visit AlexanderMcQueen.com 

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Alexander McQueen SS20 – The Story Shoulder Bag

16.06.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

For SS20, British fashion house Alexander McQueen launched a continuation of their Story bag line from the SS20 pre-collection with an intro to their latest addition , The Story Shoulder Bag. First seen on SS20 runway last year, the chic shoulder bag , was inspired by the previous version,  “The Story” , featuring a slightly larger version of the modern metal handle and a new weaved chain .

The accessory is one that allows for an easy transition from day to evening, with a variety of styles to be worn over the shoulder, via the chain strap or carried as a clutch through the front metal handle. The Story Shoulder Bag is offered in a variety of colours and textures, including finishes of the iconic leather knotted whipstitch and the seasonal gold eyelets . For more info about The Story Shoulder Bag, visit AlexanderMcQueen.com 

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McQueen Creators NO.6 – Patchwork

12.06.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

This week, British fashion house Alexander McQueen is inviting their audience to recreate patchwork using scraps of fabric found in our home with the brand’s quilt coat & suit from their AW Womenswear 2020 collection as inspiration. 

The pieces from the collection were created with inspiration by the allegorical tailor’s quilt at the St Fagans National Museum of History in Cardiff that withholds a rich history of being hand-stitched over sixteen years from 1842 by master tailor James Williams with over four and a half thousand patches. McQueen’s tutorial features a much more condensed version with a tutorial by a member of the house’s design team taking us through the process of the creation of the tailor’s quilt patchwork . 

McQueen Creators was a weekly initiative brought forth in reaction to the current global quarantine, and calls on the house’s followers to artistically engage with their favourite pieces from a selection of images shared on the McQueen instagram page. A selection of final will be published across their social media platforms. Follow the house’s social media channels for updates, and to be considered in the batch of images shared on the McQueen page, be sure to tag @alexandermcqueen and include the hashtag #McQueenCreators in your caption. 

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Alexander McQueen – The Tread Slick

17.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover image: Black Tread Slick by Lea Colombo

 One of the best aspects of Alexander McQueen’s menswear collections are the shoes. Usually they all seem to take on an entire character within themselves, proposing interesting yet sturdy new shapes, blends and colours within the genre of menswear. A particular favourite is the Tread Slick, which first appeared in the house’s SS20 pre-collection. A lighter successor of the Tread Boot from the FW18 collection , the Tread Slick features an oversized rubber sole with a canvas upper in an array of season colours .

The house recently commissioned a selection of photographers around the world to capture the iconic shoe in their current environments. Some of which included Adama Jalloh, Lea Colombo, Eddie Wrey, Alice Schillaci, Luis Alberto Rodriguez and Julia Noni. With locations ranging from Peckham to Berlin, each shot features unique styles of imagery which captures the shoes’ detailing in somewhat of a poetic manner. For more on the Tread Slick visit Alexander McQueen

Low White Tread Slick by Wing Shya
Low B&W Tread Slick by Ethan James Green

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Alexander McQueen SS20 – Endangered Flowers

17.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Every small attribute of Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen collections are created with some type of story. Each piece from the share to them hems to the embroidery is built with some type of intention. A special detail from the house’s SS20 RTW collection was the implementation of endangered flowers. For the collection, a selection of endangered flowers were hand-embroidered on ivory irish linen dresses with cocoon backs and exploded sleeves and cotton silk tailoring.

The Alexander McQueen team were who contributed with drawings sketched in glass houses and filled with rare blooms which were all transformed into embroidery artworks. The process included lots of research into engendered and extinct flowers, and required an operation of several steps including painting and silk threading using several thread techniques. For more info on the SS20 collection visit Alexander McQueen.

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Alexander McQueen SS20 ft. Dancing Girls & Mini Bags

10.05.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

During the creation of Alexander McQueen’s SS20 collection last year, the house enlisted a handful of students from Central Saint Martin’s MA course to join them in a life drawing class at the educational space of their London flagship store. The results of this class were what resulted in the dancing girls embroideries included in the house’s SS20 collection. During the process, The Stitch School —  a group which reconnects communities through the art of embroidery — provided special tables and looms, both in London as well as in Paris so that the entire McQueen team were also able to get involved in the hand embroidery of the ivory linen dress that was worn by British model Stella Tennant on the runway.  The team effort that was put into the dress is a symbolic commitment of Sarah Burton and the house of McQueen in their efforts of passing on valuable knowledge and honing young talents and also in regards to creating a wider sense of community. 

Another fundamental part of the SS20 collection, were also the minimalistic yet glamorous mini bags. The two main styles included in the collection were the Mini Jewelled Satchel and the Mini Skull Lock Bag. Each one carries its own story, that of the Mini Jewelled Satchel being characterised by the signature jewelled handle with the Alexander McQueen skull, which can be worn cross body or as a clutch. The Mini Skull Lock bag however carries its own skull clasp and can be hand.held using the top handle , or worn with a removable leather cross body strap . The bags are available in a range of various colours which can be discovered on AlexanderMcQueen.com

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McQueen Creators NO.4 – The Silhouette x Howard Tangye

27.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

 Alexander McQueen’s latest instalment of their McQueen Creators initiative invites their followers to explore the art of creating silhouettes. With the use of a sketchbook and charcoals, pencils, pastels, paint or whatever materials available, we are welcomed to join the McQueen world and interpret of favourite looks from the women’s SS20 & men’s AW20 collections with images specially chosen by Creative Director Sarah Burton as inspiration. The house also taps on the Head of BA Womenswear at Central Saint Martins Howard Tangye to spearhead the project as he takes part and shares his expertise in the field with a video tutorial. Tangye is seen guiding the McQueen audience through his process of painting an ivory tailored double breasted wool overcoat and trousers from the men’s AW20 collection. The full tutorial can be viewed below. 

McQueen Creators is a weekly initiative brought forth in reaction to the current global quarantine, and calls on the house’s followers to artistically engage with their favourite pieces from a selection of images shared on the McQueen instagram page. A selection of final will be published across their social media platforms. Follow the house’s social media channels for updates, and to be considered in the batch of images shared on the McQueen page, be sure to tag @alexandermcqueen and include the hashtag #McQueenCreators in your caption. 

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Alexander McQueen SS20 – Upcycling Detailing

20.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover image by Chloe Le Drezen

One of the most admirable aspects of Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen SS20 collection was the clever use of upcycling. The brand has committed to the task of reworking many of it’s textiles including jacquards, silks, lace and others from stock fabric held in the archives. It’s seen throughout several key pieces in the collection such as a panelled dress crafted in ivory lichen lace, cotton tulle and washed organza with oyster ruffles sleeves and skirt. The fabrics from this elegant piece were pulled from the lichen lace materials used in McQueen’s AW17 collection as well as fine cotton, tulle and ivory from the fabric stock. Another one shouldered oyster gown was also pieced together by re-cycled silk jacquard, lace, washed organza and tulle.

The ivory floral lace being brought from the house’s SS16 collection and the pale gold Venus shell and scallop silk faille jacquards from the SS19 pre collection. The house’s commitment to giving new life to old fabrics is quite commendable and stretches beyond their own use, as they recently began an initiative that gives access to students as well.  Visit Alexander McQueen for more info on their SS20 collection.

Image by Liam Leslie
Image by Liam Leslie

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Alexander McQueen-McQueen Creators: Print edition

17.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

In the latest edition of their digital initiative McQueen Creators, British fashion house Alexander McQueen opens the doors to their world of print by inviting their followers to make use of whatever materials they may have at home to recreate some of the house’s most beloved designs. The initiative allows for participants to make stamps, blocks, devise a screen print or draw or paint interpretations using free hand. 

Spearheading the series is Academy of Art University executive director Simon Ungless who worked worked with Lee Alexander McQueen on several collection including The Birds, Highland Rape and Dante. In a video tutorial, the artist takes us through his process as he carries out his personal print projects from the comfort of his home studio. 

 McQueen Creators is a weekly initiative brought forth in reaction to the current global quarantine, and calls on the house’s followers to artistically engage with their favourite pieces from a selection of images shared on the McQueen instagram page. A selection of final will be published across their social media platforms. Follow the house’s social media channels for updates, and to be considered in the batch of images shared on the McQueen page, be sure to tag @alexandermcqueen and include the hashtag #McQueenCreators in your caption. 

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Alexander McQueen’s SS20 Beetled Linen

08.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover image by Liam Leslie

One of the distinctive components of Sarah Burton’s SS20 collection for Alexander McQueen was the use of beetled linen. The fabric, known for it’s pressed natural sheen, was beetled by the oldest linen mill in Ireland and the last remaining specialist in garment beetling William Clark. Needless to say, there were pieces from this collection that would be difficult to find anywhere else with such level of quality in consideration. Each beetler at the mill is trained under a master of the craft as a way to pass the elaborate technique through generations.

Specifically , the garment beetling for the SS20 collection required the making and unmaking of clothing in the McQueen studio which were later sent off to the mill where each piece was hand painted with potato starch and hammered by wooden blocks before being constructed in a final frame in studio. The intimacy of this work is visible particularly in the form of a black troupe l’ceil layered jacket and peg trousers and in black and white puff sleeve dresses with pin-tuck details that were featured on the runway. Grab a closer look at the collection online via McQueen.

Image by Chloe Le Drezen
Image by Liam Leslie

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Alexander McQueen launches interactive digital initiative

01.04.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

British fashion house Alexander McQueen today launched a new project encouraging digital creatives to work from home with the help of their guided expertise. The initiative titled McQueen Creators was brought forth in reaction to the global quarantine, and will call on the house’s followers to artistically engage with their favourite pieces from a selection of images shared on the McQueen instagram page, a selection of which will be published across their social media platforms.

Each week a new set of concepts will be released, and this week’s headliner is taken from the Roses installation at their New Bond Street open studio.  It involves the sketching process of the finale Rose dress from the AW19 show. Other future endeavours will include 3D creation and embroidery from home amongst other initiatives. Follow the house’s social media channels for updates, and to be considered in the batch of images shared on the McQueen page, be sure to tag @alexandermcqueen and include the hashtag #McQueenCreators in your caption.

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The Majestic Lacework of Alexander McQueen SS20

27.03.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Cover image by Don Mccullin

Sarah Burton’s SS20 collection for Alexander McQueen was undoubtedly one of the designer’s most graceful and sartorially inventive yet. The collection was presented in Paris last September sans the theatrics of a flashy production with the melodies of a musical orchestra. The tour de force lied within  the tailoring, as she pieced together a story that emphasised the importance of craft, and the importance of spending time to hone it. One of the lead protagonists in this story was her use of lace. Both featured in black and white , the fabric was cut into suits, dresses and even paired with leather as inspiration was drawn from the likes of endangered flowers and Irish crochet techniques. 

“I love the idea of people having the time to make things together, the time to meet and talk together, the time to reconnect to the world,” Burton explained. 

A variety of ivory lichen lace, ivory guipure and ivory lacework were all featured throughout the collection, with the ivory lace & lacework having being woven on damask linen by Thomas Ferguson who’s widely acknowledged as the world’s finest damask weaver. The intricate use of lace was not only a reference to the works of McQueen in his past collections like Dante AW1996 but also featured some up cycled fabric from Burton’s archives. For more info on Alexander McQueen SS20 , visit McQueen.

Image by Chloe Le Drezen

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PFW: Alexander McQueen FW20 – A love letter to warmth, heritage & family

03.03.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

For the past few seasons Alexander McQueen Creative Director Sarah Burton has been resorting to the quietude of poetry as sparks of inspiration for her latest collection. A strategy that has been working quite well in finding the beauty in little things to execute and amplify on a larger scale. The beauty in nature or culture or in this case heritage. Burton’s FW20 references stemmed from a trip to Wales where she grew fond of several aspects of the country’s heritage.   

“The collection is a love letter to women and to families, colleagues and friends. We went to Wales and were inspired by the warmth of its artistic and poetic heritage, by its folklore and the soul of its craft, “ she commented. 

She drew direct inspiration from the Wrexham Tailor’s Quilt was an artefact and one of the most well known patchworks that was crafted over a ten year from 1842 using recycled scraps he had used to craft the uniforms he made during the day. The quilt known for its detailed visuals which stood as a representation of something greater, braver and aspirational knowing that it was pieced together by scraps. The literal and symbolic sentiment of this resonated with the designer.

“The woman is courageous, grounded, bold: heroic. There is a sense of protection in the clothes, of safety and comfort, evoked through quilting and blankets. The hearts are a symbol of togetherness, of being there for others.” 

The collection was a collage of sharp seamed graphic tailoring that incorporated upcycled wool flannels woven in British mills from previous McQueen seasons and set in dramatic geometric blocks, which was also very much in line with the brand’s recent initiative of a fabric donation scheme for future designers. 

“The ethos at Alexander McQueen means that everything we use in researching and designing collections has always been archived and stored”, she notes. “We’ve never thrown anything away.” Mindful of providing access to students who need resources, the scheme activates an imaginative purpose for the remaindered luxury fabrics which have been routinely saved after the sampling and production cycles of women’s and men’s collections over the past decade,” Burton said of the initiative. 

This collection was a further step to this project , pulling on fabrics from the brand’s archive to piece together an impressive collection which spoke to the concepts of warmth, family and heritage all while being sustainable while at it.

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Alexander McQueen SS20 Campaign

28.01.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Alexander McQueen recently released their Spring Summer RTW 2020 Campaign shot by Jamie Hawkesworth. The campaign features faces Vivien Solari, Felice Noordhoof and Imaan Homaam elegantly posed by the seaside.  

“Each look tells its own story. The connection between the clothes is the time it took to make them. I was interested in clarity and paring things down, in the essence of garments – stripping back to the toile. I love the idea of people having the time to make things together, the time to meet and talk together, the time to reconnect with the world.” Sarah Burton Creative director.

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MFW Men’s: Alexander McQueen’s FW20 Sartorial Romance

14.01.2020 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

For the first time, British fashion house Alexander McQueen presented it’s menswear collection during Milan Fashion Week earlier this week. 

For FW20, creative director Sarah Jane Burton, created poetry, and no, this is not in referral to the violinists who welcomed guests into the space with their ever so elegant strums, but rather in regards to the symphonious binding of fabrics and tailoring carried out throughout the collection. 

Many may argue that classic menswear in its purest form is a straight line, a linear scale of techniques and patterns that must be followed and abided by at all costs. Yet with this collection, it is as if Burton breaks up the parts of a puzzle, and pieces them back together in an entirely different way no one knew was possible. 

With inspiration from Northern landscapes , the designer crafted a collection of razor tailored razor sharps suits , and doubled breasted overcoats  inspired by minerals rocks and stones. Coats and jackets were rendered in grey sharkskin mohair and black wool are spliced and slashed, echoing the lines of military harnessing. Panels from classic military coats cut into signature tailoring and camel overcoats. 

Each look was made and styled with an intricate level of artistry. An added touch were are the silk suits and coats that were printed with an engineered artwork of Henry Moore, Three-Quarter Figure 1928, reproduced courtesy of the Henry Moore Foundation. 

A few pieces were created in reference to the house’s SS20 womenswear collection like some of the shoes and a few accessories. Nonetheless, the designer’s approach to menswear is a breath of fresh air for the industry. Serving as the perfect example that there is no one way of creating elegance, no one way of creating menswear, the options are not limited to classic or street but is open to a vast variety of undiscovered proposals. 

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Roses – An exhibition by Alexander McQueen

03.12.2019 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Roses : The symbolism of flowers is rooted in the power of nature, is the theme behind Alexander McQueen’s recently opened exhibition at their store on Old Bond Street in London. The showcase has been all curated around two of the brand’s iconic closing pieces designed around the form and energy of flowers. The most recent being the swirling red Rose dress crafted by Sarah Burton which closed the Alexander McQueen Autumn/Winter 2019 show, and the other an intricate dress constructed by Lee Alexander McQueen himself with fresh flower for the end of the Sarabande SS2007 show. 

Throughout the exhibit, the complex shaping of the Red Rose dress is documented through a variety of methods including the showcase of samples and background research as well as a video featuring head of atelier Judy Halil, as she takes us through the step by step process at the McQueen studios. The Sarabande dress, once filled with fresh flowers is now set at the entrance of the showcase, accompanied by other flower inspired pieces from the SS2007 collection as well as gowns with English roses, camellias , exploded carnation-shapes , garden flowers and bees that fill the space. 

Guests are also invited to walk among each piece, pick up each label and discovery the history behind each dress. Roses can be found on the second floor of the Alexander McQueen store and is now open to the public. 

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Daphne Guinness: a melodic memoir

20.10.2016 | Fashion , Music | BY:

Daphne Guinness is a woman who has little trouble turning heads. For years now she has been a fashion behemoth, attracting attention for simply existing. Akin, almost, to a mythical creature on whom sartorial enthusiasts project their likes and dislikes, her characteristically monochrome silhouette — all angles, hair and vertiginous heels — has become something of the caricature. And for the most part, silent. But now, Daphne has found her voice.

Back in 2011, following the gut-wrenching loss of some of her dearest friends and family — Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow amongst them — Daphne retreated from the fashion industry that had, in her words, left her feeling “burned”, and isolated herself in a secluded Irish landscape to record a cover of a Dylan track as some kind of cathartic release. However, what actually happened turned out to be rather different. The person she was meant to be working on the Dylan material with never showed up, and so instead, she wrote her own music. Flash forward to now, and she has an album out.

Speaking to the muse come musician on the eve of her first ever live show — an electric performance at the Natural History Museum for a Frieze Art Fair party hosted by Maurice Ostro CBE, Candida Gertler and the Louisa Guinness Gallery — the singer is remarkably calm, and unexpectedly candid. “I’m too honest,” she says, almost to herself.

Optimist In Black, her debut album, is by no means an easy listen. It is classic rock’n’roll story weaving, and plunges you into the depths of despair before soaring phoenix-like into almost jubilant territory. The title track is perhaps the darkest hour, and deservedly so, with its severe etchings of grief ringing out in every ‘60s-infused riff. “The album is completely what happened that year, in order.” Daphne tells us. “When I got to ‘Marionette’ [track five of 14] I had about four seizures and completely collapsed. Then I wrote ‘Optimist In Black’ [track seven], and went and got lost in Mexico.” The escape was undoubtedly needed. “At the time I thought if I do anything darker than ‘Optimist In Black’ then I’m going to kill myself. So I needed that. I got through it, and then I came back and wrote ‘Magic Tea’ [track 8, a pop song]. It was sink or swim,” she explains.

The Guinness sound is one born from pain, reflection and the resolution to find light in the darkest of times. It is determined in its subsequent dealings with life’s sucker punches, but ultimately, she is objective about her experiences. “I realise that everybody’s been through shit,” she says. “They’ve been through ups, downs, bad love affairs, death and disaster. I’m not really writing a unique version of the world here, these are basic human emotions that happen to everybody.”

When speaking about the losses she suffered, Daphne is frank. “It was like a magical time that abruptly ended,” she says. “It felt like dominos going down, down, down. And you can’t do anything. I thought, ‘you can’t just see everybody at funerals, crying their eyes out, and then you know you’re going to have to see them at some fucking party the next day, talking about something else.’ That’s why I started the initiative at Central Saint Martin’s and have tried to support people in terms of their mental health. Because to many people it’s just gossip, which is, you know…” Awful is the word unuttered, but hanging in the air nonetheless.

Daphne Guinness

Credit: Jamie Kendall

Daphne has a knack of bringing something of meaning from truly bleak situations. Thanks to her creation of the Isabella Blow Foundation, she is putting two MA students through Central Saint Martins each year, as well as working with the Samaritans. This remarkable dedication to the nurture of talent is a continuous theme in Daphne’s life. Doing all these positive things “makes a little bit more sense” of the situation, she says.

And Daphne has always been a woman surrounded by and somewhat immersed in creative genius. From McQueen and Blow, to close collaborators such as Nick Knight and open-admirer Lady Gaga, she is a magnet for inextinguishable talent. Another such person, who influenced and encouraged Daphne a great deal, is Bowie. Although the musician is hesitant to discuss their relationship too much, for fear of capitalising on his legacy, it was he who set her up with her album’s producer: the legendary Tony Visconti. “Everybody’s talking about David at the moment and it [all] feels cheap.” She admits. “But he was incredibly supportive, and I always just thought: ‘But why me?’” She reluctantly continues, “He was the most remarkable person. And also, more simple than everybody gave him credit for. He was a very magical man.”

Despite having lived her life through somewhat of a lens, the stage isn’t Daphne’s natural home. “Yeah I’m very, very shy — strangely enough — but I’m getting better at it. I’m getting better at becoming someone else, when there’s a point to it, rather than just to be seen [performing].” Music is something of a shield, it seems. “I feel that you are protected in some sort of way by the art that you make, and by the people that you work with. And that’s fine.”

“What I don’t really understand,” she continues, “is what’s happened [to the music industry] in the last 20 years, where it’s all surface and there’s not much underneath… I’d much rather see almost nothing and hear what people actually have to say, rather than seeing just a whole lot of images.” She references YouTube and social media, and seems perplexed by the lack of authentic narrative, as well as the abundance of the visual above all else. For someone who has previously been so much a part of the aesthetic frontiers of society, it seems to be something of an about turn. “Fashion was a huge part of my life, but when all of that happened I thought ‘I can’t do this anymore,’” she reveals. “I sort of put myself into isolation and wrote this album instead.”

The sound that accompanies such a raw confessional is, as previously mentioned, a distinctively ‘60s one. Citing Marc Bolan as her “first big love” explains a lot about Daphne, although there are echoes of Nico and Faithfull too. For a woman who recounts making her album as a mix between “mad and brave”, and describes walking into the studio to record with her band thinking “Shit! What am I doing? I’m a complete amateur,” the result is incredibly accomplished. “I’m glad I didn’t know how difficult it was going to be, because I would never have done it,” she admits. “But I’m very glad I did. And I’m very glad I didn’t just do a cover of someone else’s song, because there are so many songs to be written.”

Optimist In Black is out now on Agent Anonyme/Absolute

Daphneguinness.com

Main photo credit: Jamie Kendall

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Savage Beauty

17.03.2015 | Fashion | BY:

Strangely moving and beautifully composed, Savage Beauty is the most fitting homecoming for fashion’s rare bird.

Just as complex as the man himself and just as deeply layered, the V&A’s retrospective of the late great Lee Alexander McQueen is as powerful as it is poignant. At the time of writing 70,000 advance tickets had already sold for Savage Beauty. So far, that’s 3,000 more than the V&A had sold during the same period for David Bowie Is… It says something when a fashion designer can outsell a rock icon.

This amplified version of the original exhibition staged at The Met in 2011 has been fittingly expanded to begin at the beginning, with McQueen’s hometown and the raw, scratchy, seedy energy of London. You can trace a line through McQueen’s growth as a designer from his Central St Martins MA collection, inspired by backstreet debauchery, through to the exquisite aristocratic and ornithological references that chime with his complex relationship with Isabella Blow. Brutally beautiful rather than conventionally so, McQueen effectively reprogrammed femininity.

Almost twenty years of transformative and transgressive design are here and the iconic garments come thick and fast, from the goose feather coat dipped in gold to the bumster trousers and the crocodile head epaulettes. Animalistic and erotic, the pieces feel real and three-dimensional in ways that many fashion garments fall short in this kind of setting. Layered thick with references, implied and explicit, they transcend ready to wear. There are over 240 garments showcased over the ten rooms, including 70 additional pieces that particularly resonate with the London homecoming. Exhibition designers Sam Gainsbury and Joseph Bennett have taken a thematic route through McQueen’s archive, creating theatrical spaces that are powerfully evocative of his most recognisable influences.

A Cabinet of Curiosities exposes many of McQueen’s most memorable garments, including some he created for Givenchy. At the heart is the rotating dress from his Spring/ Summer 1999 No. 13 collection, in which Shalom Harlow was famously sprayed by robots. Soaring up to the ceiling are 120 other pieces, but emphasis is placed on highlighting the sculptural jewellery and headwear accessories created by long-time collaborators Philip Treacy and Stephen Webster. The association with McQueen seems to even elevate these two master craftsmen, standing on the shoulders of a giant. The exhibition ends with McQueen’s final collection, Plato’s Atlantis (Spring/Summer 2010), which in retrospect feels like the pinnacle of his fascination with anthropomorphic metamorphosis. And those armadillo shoes will define him – and the label –  long, long after his death.

The poignancy of his brief genius resonates through a re-staging of the Kate Moss hologram that closed the Widows of Culloden Autumn/Winter 2006 show; an ethereal wisp of cheekbones and organza floating mid-air finally drifts off into the distance and disappears into the black solar system. It’s a fitting metaphor for a designer whose star shone brighter than most, but who was ultimately consumed by his own personal tragedy.

Savage Beauty is at the V & A Museum until 2nd August 2015. 

vam.ac.uk

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