In the hands of a great creator, fashion need acknowledge no bounds. But a designer needs the right soil in which to grow his unique blooms. And exciting breakthroughs are rarely the work of one pair of hands.
What makes good fashion great is what happens when a group of dedicated and skilled people, each highly versed in his own discipline, begin to bring their thoughts together. Visionary designers often attract a muse – someone so attuned to their way of thinking that their two minds function as one. It is rare, but when it happens it produces a sort of magic. This is what happened when Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow found each other.
It is a tale often told, with Blow buying his entire first collection and giving him intellectual, emotional and even spiritual support from the outset. But Blow’s influence was also practical, and she introduced her protégé to Nadja Swarovski, who opened his eyes to the power of crystal. Their meeting marked the union of imagination and materials that produced spectacular results.
Throughout his career, McQueen loved to push craftsmanship to its creative limits. He achieved dazzling effects in some of the most powerful garments created in the past 20 years, and can surely be considered a seminal figure of our age. From balsa wood skirts to dresses covered in fresh flowers, complex cutting techniques to the revolving spectacle of Shalom Harlow, McQueen’s pursuit of originality was boundless.
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Experience a taste of our spectacular spring exhibition
Spurred on by Isabella Blow, aided by fellow designers Philip Treacy and Shaun Leane, and furnished with a magical array of Swarovski (and other) materials, the cockney couturier left an indelible stamp on the world of fashion.