It’s been just over four years since legendary British designer Alexander McQueen’s death. Suffering from anxiety and depressive disorder, things finally came to a head when McQueen’s mother passed away. A few days later, the troubled fashion designer committed suicide.
Alexander McQueen was only 40 years old. Yet in his brief time, he was a powerful force to be reckoned with in the fashion world. His style is best described as raw, dramatic and organic. In honour of McQueen’s incredible work, we’ve rounded up some of the most iconic dresses that he designed. A tribute to one of the most unique fashion designers of our time.
#1 The Oyster Dress
Made up of hundreds of layers of silk organza (a thin sheer fabric), the ridging on the dress was designed to resemble the surface of a shell. The hem of the skirt has a wavy lip, resembling that of an oyster – hence its name.
#2 The VOSS Dress
“There’s blood beneath every layer of skin.” – Alexander McQueen
Those words help explain what influenced McQueen in this design. The bottom of the dress is made of ostrich feathers that are dyed red, and the shiny sequin tiles at the top end are actually microscope slides, painted red to symbolize the blood underneath.
#3 The Sarabande Dress
An absolutely stunning creation, pictures truly don’t do this dress justice. McQueen himself stated he was in a darkly romantic place at the time. The usage of both fresh and dead flowers represents the duality of life and death.
#4 Ensemble (It’s Only a Game collection)
Borrowing from the silhouette popular in the 18th century, this short, thigh-high dress, with its wide hip is beautifully embroidered, and completed with a kimono collar, obi sash and undershirt. The heavy influence of Japanese culture is quite apparent.
#5 Angels & Demons collection
This dress is part of Alexander McQueen’s unfinished series called Angels and Demons, which was found unfinished in his studio, after the designer’s death. Both dress and glove are made of printed silk satin, with an underskirt made of gold painted duck feathers.
#6 Gold Feathered Dress
Similar to #5, this dress is another design from McQueen’s unfinished Angels and Demons collection. With a gold leaf feather coat and gold embroidered skirt underneath, this combination makes for a truly breathtaking spectacle.
#7 Crimson Coat (The Girl Who Lived In A Tree collection)
Inspired by the Queens of England this voluminous dress is definitely not lacking in drama. The red coat is silk-satin with an embroidered ivory dress underneath, made of silk chiffon with crystal beads.
#8 The Horn of Plenty
Made entirely out of duck feathers dyed black, this dress is meant to represent the look of a raven – which was a popular symbol in Romantic times for death. McQueen loved birds, so it’s only fitting that this is one of the designers finest examples of showmanship and design brilliance.
#9 Razor-Clam Dress
Made entirely of razor-clam shells that were stripped and polished, the dress is intricately designed and is another great example of Alexander McQueen’s willingness to step outside his comfort zone, in the use of highly unorthodox materials.
#10 The Widows of Culloden collection
From a distance this looks like a beautifully designed dress, but true to McQueen’s style, it doesn’t just end there. No. This dress is made entirely of pheasant feathers. Influenced by the grab of the 1890s, the feathers are carefully layered to create a full, textured dress with stunning colouring.