Between 1984 and 1988 McQueen was an apprentice with Savile Row tailors Anderson and Sheppard where he learnt to cut jackets, then Gieves & Hawkes, where he gained expertise in cutting trousers.Read more
This was followed by a short period at the theatrical costumiers Berman’s and Nathan’s creating coats and waistcoats. His training at these venerable establishments gave him the confidence and technical ability to cut cloth quickly and accurately. Even when McQueen’s work and its presentation celebrated the theatrical, it was based on a clear understanding of the tailored garment.
This interest was career-long. The tailor Michael O’Connor, in describing McQueen’s particular fascination with military coats and jackets, said, ‘He was very inquisitive about their cut and construction and wanted to learn as much as he could’. It was often through tailoring techniques that McQueen experimented with shifting bodily proportions, resulting in garments such as the torso-extending ‘Bumster’ trousers of Taxi Driver (Autumn/Winter 1993) and the articulated jackets of Dante (Autumn/Winter 1996). McQueen also borrowed types of surface decoration from military uniform, including braid embellishment, which he applied to garments in Banshee (Autumn/Winter 1994) and Plato’s Atlantis (Spring/Summer 2010).