“The show is meant to provoke an emotional response. It’s my 30 minutes to do whatever I want.”
Lee Alexander McQueen
Music Credits

savage beauty

pepper’s ghost


One of the most memorable finales by a designer known for staging spectacular catwalk shows, took place during The Widows Of Culloden (Autumn/Winter 2006). A collection conceived as a memorial to the widows of a 1745 battle between the British and the Scottish, it was staged at the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy. With the audience surrounding a square white catwalk, as the last model disappeared from view, the lights dimmed and four glass triangles rose from a collapsed brass box in the centre of the stage to form a pyramid. The sound of violins drifted through the arena as an ethereal spirit appeared as if underwater or floating within the vortexes of a spectral world. A few moments later, that ‘spirit’ rotated to reveal itself as Kate Moss in a diaphanous organza gown, rotating mid-air. It was an apparition of supernatural beauty.

"The show is meant to provoke an emotional response. It’s my 30 minutes to do whatever I want." LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
For over a minute Moss hovered above the catwalk like a visitor from another world, her spirit reflected from below. Though many later described the image as a hologram, the spectacle was created using a 19th century optical illusion known as ‘Pepper’s Ghost’. A technique involving the projection of an image offstage through plates of glass angled at 45 degrees, ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ was first staged by the British scientist John Henry Pepper for a phantasmagorical adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella The Haunted Man in 1862 – a time when Victorian interest in séances first took root.
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