In a review of McQueen’s posthumous Autumn/Winter 2010 collection, fashion critic Suzy Menkes termed it, ‘His vision of Gothic glory, with a world bathed in religious symbolism’.
McQueen’s regular appropriation of religious imagery from old master paintings was carefully considered, and never merely decorative. This gauntlet, part of an ensemble digitally printed with details taken from an early fifteenth-century altarpiece, extends that imagery to the very tips of the wearer’s fingers. McQueen’s choice of the gauntlet shape hints at the designer’s interest in falconry, a private pastime that took place at his friend Isabella Blow’s ancestral home.
Both the singular gauntlet and the dress it was designed to complete feature details from Stephan Lochner’s Altarpiece of the Patron Saints of Cologne, painted in around 1440. The altarpiece was commissioned for Cologne’s City Council Chapel. The work now resides in the Lady Chapel of Cologne Cathedral and is in daily liturgical use. The glove is graced with the altarpiece’s architectural pattern of arch motifs, picked out in flamboyant decorative detail. The Germanic instinct for intricate line is made clear in these elaborate flourishes; the digitally printed version approximates the effect of the three-dimensional, carved wood original.
Though German by birth, Lochner’s art was strongly influenced by Netherlandish painting. McQueen once said, ‘I relate more to that cold, austere asceticism of the Flemish masters’.