By Alex Bottner
5 Reasons Why Alexander McQueen Would’ve Been Marc’s Favourite Student
I just watched the ‘McQueen’ documentary on the late fashion designer. I am not a huge fashion person, but I was blown away by his creative force and how he shook up and challenged the industry.
As I was watching it, I realised that he had a lot of the qualities that Marc gives us a bollocking for not having enough of.
Here’s why McQueen would’ve been one of Marc’s favourite students:
When McQueen started out, he used benefits to fund his first collections. He was making dresses out of cling film, rubbish bags, and anything that could be used. Sharon Stone ordered the dress made out of cling film. Though he was making headlines, he couldn’t afford to eat after his shows. Everything he had was poured into his work.
2. Fuck the System Attitude
When McQueen was only 27, he was made creative director of Givenchy to shake up the brand. The collection bombed and French critics enjoyed watching him fail.
He returned to London to work on his own label and fired back at the animalistic response to his work with his show ‘It’s A Jungle Out There’.
Set in Borough Market at night (before it was gentrified), the smell of rotting fruit and meat hung in the air as feral-looking models walked down the runway in animal carcasses embellished with human hair.
Crowds stormed the barricades to try and get a seat, and knocked over a flaming grease pot that set fire to one of the cars on set. McQueen was loving it and told the models to keep going. Everyone thought it was part of the show.
3. Unafraid to Get Dark
One of McQueen’s first ever shows was called “Highland Rape”…
McQueen drew on his Scottish roots and the abuse his older sister and he suffered from her husband by portraying models in tartan who appeared to have been raped. Though they looked vulnerable, they also appeared warrior-like, wearing protective armour. He received a lot of backlash, but he got everyone talking about how women are portrayed in culture and violence against women.
4. Challenged the Audience
He was a designer, but hated the public scrutiny that came with fame.
His ‘Voss’ show is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. The audience sat in a room that looked like something out of ‘Space Odyssey’. The walls were lined with two way mirrors, forcing the press and audience to confront their own reflections for an hour before the show started. The mirrors then revealed the models on the other side, who were in a psychiatric hospital.
When McQueen was hired to work at Givenchy, he didn’t want to be treated like a creative director. In Paris, creative directors were treated like gods. McQueen rejected that and would eat meals with all of the tailors and seamstresses in the staff’s canteen in the basement.