Image of Earrings


  • Irere
  • Spring/Summer 2003
  • Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen. Silver and porcupine quills

‘I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress’. Alexander McQueen

McQueen’s catwalk presentations often coalesced around elaborate narratives. Irere, meaning ‘transformation’ in one of the indigenous Amazonian languages, told the story of one girl’s metamorphosis from shipwreck survivor to Amazonian princess. The collection, which also drew on McQueen’s love of nature, incorporated references to Amazonian wildlife, including birds of paradise, which appeared as vibrant feather prints on chiffon dresses, and these earrings made from porcupine quills.

Their shape is unconventional for, rather than piecing through or being clipped to the lobe, the earrings sit over and around the ear. In nature, the quills defend the animal from predators. In these earrings the quills, which protrude from silver mounts, are attached to an inner silver circle and splay out in a fan-shape, mimicking the macaw feather earrings in the same collection. The effect of affixing the earrings closely to the head in this manner was to hint at the hybridisation between woman and animal – a theme that McQueen invoked in many of his other collections including La Dame Bleue (Spring/Summer 2008) and The Horn of Plenty (Autumn/Winter 2009).