Season Coverage

By 1999, Alexander McQueen’s runways were no longer considered fashion shows but rather an art performance. Thirty years old and still recognized as an independent designer, McQueen turned water into wine with a minimal budget and atypical design process. Based in a scrappy warehouse used for storing street cleaning trucks, McQueen’s thirteenth show, Untitled No. 13, unraveled. The show opened up with Aimee Mullins, the amputee Paralympic athlete, model, and actress, walking on cherry red wooden prosthetics designed by McQueen and sculpted by woodcarver Grinling Gibbons. McQueen challenged the standards of beauty at the time; his life goal was to portray women as strong, believing that beauty comes from within. The collection was exquisite and virginally romantic yet held dark undertones. All would change when ballet dancer and supermodel Shalom Harlow came onto the stage. Dressed in a billowing, multi-layered, white dress, Harlow appeared center stage, surrounded by two robots used to paint cars. As Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major II played, the robots came to life, simultaneously spraying Harlow with neon green and black paint. Struck with peril, Harlow’s innocence was maimed, and McQueen’s audience left in shock and awe. Nature versus the machine and fear and sensation were common motifs throughout McQueen’s work that never failed to grip his audience.

Written by Leonardo Hurtado


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