Alexander McQueen - part V
|Alexander McQueen - backstage Banshee show|
McQueen's next collection after Nihilism was Banshee. The collection was presented during London Fashion Week and designer took his inspiration from "Irish folklore about banshees heard wailing when a boat sank". One of the unusual pieces in the collection was a sweater with transparent breast-revealing panel. McQueen called it "Get Your Tits Out" and it was knitted by a young intern Julien Macdonald. McQueen was still broke, so in order to raise money for his collection, asked Detmar Blow (Isabella Blow's husband) and Stella Beer for help. He also cashed his welfare checks and used the money to buy fabrics. Everybody worked for free and Isabella Blow tried to convince some of her fashion-forward friends to attend the show, however, not many of them showed up. McQueen was still relatively unpopular and being vulgar and rude made the things even worse. British press did not pay enough attention to his collections. The feeling was mutual because McQueen did not respect journalists either: "I always try to slam ideas in people's face. If I get someone like Suzy Menkes in the front row, wearing her fucking Christian Lacroix, I make sure that lady gets pissed on by one of the girls, you know what I mean? These people can make you or break you, and they love you for just a moment. I may be the name on everyone's lips at the moment, but they can kill you".
After the show, McQueen received an invitation from a New York based company "In The Mix" to present Banshee in the US. He accepted the invitation and American audience was much more favorable towards him than the British one, many American fashion editors attended the show and praised Banshee. During his stay in New York, McQueen met with fashion agent Eo Bocci, who expressed his interest in underwriting McQueen's company.
After returning to England, McQueen started working on his next collection "The Birds", based on Alfred Hitchcock's thriller from the 60's. "The aesthetic shock tactic continued in The Birds, featuring hard tailoring which was based on the idea of road kill. The models at the show were bound in sticky tape and streaked with oily tyre marks; these tyre marks were also printed on some of the jackets to look as if the model had been driven over" (Caroline Evans). Additionally, in order to make models look eerie, McQueen decided that they would wear white contact lenses. many people helped to orchestrate the show. Simon Costin lent McQueen some of his jewelry and did the show set, Eugene Souleiman was a hairdresser for the models and Dazed & Confused fashion editor, Katy England, became McQueen's new stylist. The show was attended mostly by friends, fashion students and very few journalists. McQueen was fully aware of lack of attention from British press and once said: "London gives me fuck all. If they offered me Young Designer of the Year I'd throw a right tantrum- they haven't given me shit".
"'The Birds' was a big turning point. It crowned Lee as THE rising star. Before he was A rising star. But after 'The Birds', he was the one to watch", said Derek Anderson from fashion PR company, "In The Mix".