Nature and Organic Materials

Alexander McQueen’s fascination with the elemental—earth, wind, fire and water—imbued his collections with primordial drama. Nature and its materials were a constant in McQueen’s work.

He incorporated hair, wood, shells, coral, feathers, horns, and even taxidermy into his designs. In addition, through sculptural means and printed textiles, thorns, reptile skins and blood were also referenced. In McQueen’s hands, these materials could transform and transfigure the wearer into something other than human.

McQueen was fascinated with places in wild nature: the Scottish Highlands, the North coast and the ocean’s depths. He also had a profound respect for William Morris and the late nineteenth-century Arts and Crafts Movement, and marvelled at the technical skill in transforming natural materials demonstrated by seventeenth-century woodcarvers such as Grinling Gibbons.