R.I.P. Alexander McQueen
” For his March 1995 “Highland Rape” show, McQueen sent his models down the catwalk in ripped lace dresses and skirts with what appeared to be tampon strings attached. The 1996 “Hunger” show featured clothing and jewelry that evoked bondage and decay, while the “Untitled” show of 1998 (originally named “The Golden Shower” but changed because the sponsor, American Express, felt it was too risqué) highlighted a model with what looked like a bit between her teeth, walking through water lit with yellow light.
The outrageousness of McQueen’s shows has led to accusations of misogyny (an accusation often leveled at gay designers for the supposed fantasy women they try to create) and exploitation, but the “bad boy of fashion” is quick to counter these accusations. “Highland Rape,” he explained, was about the “rape” of Scotland by the British, a subject that had a personal resonance as his family is of Scottish descent.
Moreover, he insisted that his attitude towards women is informed by his having witnessed as a child scenes of violence involving his sister: “Everything I’ve done since then was for the purpose of making women look stronger, not naïve,” he was quoted in The Independent Fashion Magazine in 2000, “models are there to showcase what I’m about, nothing else. It’s nothing to do with misogyny.”