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  • Eleanor Keene

The Bees Knees

Its not everyday I am blown away by fashion, as I am in the privileged position with my work to get up and personal with it on a regular basis, but the Alexander McQueen exhibition on the top floor of the Bond Street, London atelier was something else, and even better when it’s not expected and free!


Spanning across the top floor is a beautiful exhibition showcasing a selection of McQueen’s past seasons of work. However, its not just the garments, but noticeboards full of samples, photographs and sketches, showing how the collections have come to life.


My absolute favourite dress, I appley named the ‘bee dress’ was beautifully worked with intricate hand smocking, in varying sizes of honeycomb hexagons through the body, waist and hips. Tiny raise gold embroidered bees scatted over the full skirt and on closer inspection, I realised the pale-yellow fabric was in fact a jacquard with a further honeycomb woven design!


Back in Australia again, I am showing my McQueen booty haul of images on my phone, to the Textile Conservation staff at the NGV, as we had all recently been involved in the NGV exhibition of McQueen’s work. Astutely the photo with the typed shipping tag, hanging off the garment was blown up, collection and season read ‘Look 25, S/S 2013’, and promptly googled, something I had not thought of doing! Up popped the runway image. Interestingly it was styled with a tortoiseshell-like resin open cage corset, reminiscent of something from the Dark Ages, not what I would have put with it, but that’s the McQueen look for you, all about hard and confronting contrasts.


Bee dress: Look 25, S/S 2013

Designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen

Viewed in London in April 2023.

Pictured with look 33, S/S 2013

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