Fashion in Motion: Alexander McQueen & Shaun Leane

October 2001

Fashion in Motion is a series of live catwalk events presented at the V&A. Featuring some of the greatest designers of our time, Fashion in Motion brings catwalk couture to a wider audience by modelling it against the beautiful backdrop of the Museum.

A unique retrospective celebrating the years of collaboration between Shaun Leane & Alexander McQueen.

Shaun Leane

Shaun’s career began in Hatton Garden, at the age of 16, working for English Traditional Jewellery. During a thirteen year period he was immersed in the craft of goldsmithing, fashioning delicate antique jewellery using precious metals and stones. Following training at Sir John Cass College, Leane set up a workshop in Hatton Garden and produced a number of pieces for McQueen’s second show Highland Rape and produced jewellery for Van Cleef & Arpels, Garrads, Kutchinskys, and Mappin & Webb. His work for Alexander McQueen demanded bigger and more elaborate jewellery creations, creating objects of imposing beauty which pushed the boundaries of possibility, defying the traditional expectations of modern jewellery. Shaun Leane has developed designs which fuse flesh and moulded metal into one harmonious entity.

'It’s the tiny details that give Alexander McQueen his edge on the show circuit, and that is where the jeweller Shaun Leane comes in.'
Rebecca Lowthorpe – The Observer

'Shaun is a close friend and companion for many years, who captures the feeling of my work and aesthetic and of the time we are in…full of structure and finesse, crafted to perfection.'
Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen created highly crafted vision of the future of fashion, a vision which encompassed accessories, music and staging as well as his beautifully tailored garments which called upon the skills of a number of different practitioners. Shaun Leane and Alexander McQueen worked together closely over many years to create a unique body of work.

Alexander McQueen

London born and educated, dubbed 'enfant terrible' by the fashion press, Alexander McQueen became one of the youngest designers to win the coveted title 'British Designer of the Year' in 1996 and jointly in 1997, as well as having designed for couture house Givenchy. McQueen left school at 16 and began work as a Savile Row Tailors' apprentice before joining Koji Tatsuno and Romeo Gigli. He returned to London to complete an MA at St Martins School of Art. His MA Collection was bought in its entirety by Vogue editor Isabella Blow. Alexander McQueen captured worldwide attention with his incredible shows; creative showcases which culminated in both the men’s and women’s collections retailing in the most prestigious outlets around the world.

The Collections featured

The Overlook – Autumn/Winter 1999/2000

Inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s ' The Shining', the show environment was an arctic, frozen tundra with a blizzard of snow and ice contained within a plexiglass cube. Icelandic sportswear included padded parkas, ponchos and chunky knits mixed with more nostalgic cutaway frock coats and long ballooning winding skirts. The decorative, romantic mood was played out in the delicate colour palette of dusky pinks, greys and greens.

Silver Coil Corset
Worn with grey wool puffball skirt and 'skating shoes'

The Hunger – Spring/Summer 1996

Inspired by the Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie film by the same name, the collection incorporates shot taffeta suiting for men and women, thorn and feather prints, elaborate brocade, and flesh-like fabrics. The silhouette is predominately svelte.

Silver Tusk Earring and Silver
Brocade jacket worn with red kick pleat skirt and studded leather ankle boots

Eye – Spring/Summer 2000

An arabic influenced silhouette included billowing yashmaks, moulded raffia bodices and keyhole pants. New shapes appeared as scarf-sleeves and high scooped hem trousers. Silk organza and leather were apparent in blacks, reds and ivory. Key fabrics included brocades plus embroidered leather and were accented with gold bells, coins and ruffled ribbon.

Jewelled body armour
Worn with chevron leather knickers and red leather shoes

Eshu – Autumn/Winter 2000/2001

Inspired by the travels of a Victorian woman who journeys around the world and finally rests in Africa, where she slowly begins to embody the spirit of the culture. The show is set inside a derelict shell with a runway high against the wall and on a floor of slate chippings. The mood is strong and earthy with intricate hand-crafted pieces in a palette of black, browns, yellow and cream.

Silver hoop earrings and silver mouthpiece
Worn with chocolate brown boucle jacket with Mongolian Lamb sleeves, Mongolian lamb pencil skirt and patchwork leather wedge boots

Dante – Autumn/Winter 1996/1997

Details drawn from the 14th Century, the collection reflects the suffering of religious war using 'uneasy' images by Don McCullin on luxurious fabrics. Fine boning and military embroidery contrast with frayed and bleach dyed denim. Fishtail skirts, fluted sleeves and chevron panelling on tailored suits exude dramatic femininity.

Silver thorn arm piece and silver face thorns
Worn with corseted denim all-in-one and black lace ankle boots

What a Merry-Go-Round – Autumn/Winter 2001/2002

A circle of lights illuminate a tilted rotating carousel of vintage fairground horses. Inspired by first world-war military dress the collection is brutally sharp and presents a balanced mix of masculine and feminine with hints of 1930s romance. The show closes with a Victorian toyshop coming to life revealing a sequence of sinister yet delicately beautiful 'clowns'.

Pheasant Claw and Tahitian Pearl Choker
Worn with bronze lace dress and chocolate patent leather bumsters and black stiletto shoes

Givenchy Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2000

Silver rose corset
Worn with black silk trousers and black satin mules

Credits

Stylist - Sidonie

Hair - Samantha Hillerby

Makeup - Thanks to Terry Barber and the MAC Pro Team

Music - Jon Gosling

Photography - Maja Kardum

Video - Cassie Allward

Models - Melanie, Sarah Wietzel and Anna Maria Csech at Select, Biljana at Premier, Nusa at Take 2 and Raquel A and Karen Wright at Models 1.

Special thanks to Lee, Sarah, Amie, Dee and all at the McQueen studio for all their help with this project.

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