An avid collector of National Geographic magazine, Alexander McQueen’s fascination with nature, its beauty, strangeness and cruelty, is apparent throughout his work. Yet rather than merely recreate forms and patterns apparent in the organic world, certain garments within the designer’s oeuvre explore a recurring narrative of metamorphosis – a shape-shifting state of ‘becoming’ between the realms of the spirit and the physical, or the animal and the human, which is often associated with tribal understandings of the world. Many of these narratives referenced the Romantic 19th century ideal of the ‘noble savage’, living in harmony with the natural world. Such was McQueen’s respect for nature, he even dedicated an entire collection to man’s destruction of the environment in Natural Dis-tinction, Un-Natural Selection (Spring/Summer 2009), which was presented on a catwalk decorated with a menagerie of taxidermied animals.
"people find my things sometimes aggressive. but i don’t see it as aggressive. i see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality." LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
"I try to push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking of how we look. What I do is look at ancient African tribes, and the way they dress. The rituals of how they dress... There’s a lot of tribalism in the collections"Lee Alexander McQueen
“I like things to be modern and still have a bit of tradition”Lee Alexander McQueen
“working with the atelier (at givenchy) was fundamental to my career... i was a tailor at savile row. at givenchy i learned to soften. for me, it was an education. as a designer i could have left it behind. but working at givenchy helped me learn my craft”Lee Alexander McQueen
"Animals ... fascinate me because you can find a force, an energy, a fear that also exists in sex."Lee Alexander McQueen
“I’m a romantic schizophrenic. Some people think I’ve become softer with this spring collection, but it’s always been in my work. There may be an Edgar Allen Poe romance to it – it’s not a heart-on-your-sleeve type thing – but that’s just my personality. I’ve always been very sensitive, very romantic, but not everyone has seen that.”Lee Alexander McQueen