“Coiled” Corset, The Overlook, autumn/winter 1999–2000

Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen
“Coiled” Corset
The Overlook, autumn/winter 1999–2000
Courtesy of Shaun Leane
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

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Andrew Bolton: This corset was inspired by the coiled necklaces of the Ndebele people of southern Africa. McQueen gave jeweler Shaun Leane the daunting task of transforming the necklace into a corset.

Shaun Leane: The “Coiled” Corset was a particularly amazing piece because I had to cast the model’s torso in concrete to get an exact form of her, and then I had to literally form every coil, one by one, front and back, and work all the way up, so that it was a perfect fit. And she’s actually placed into the corset, and then it’s screwed all along the side, and up the arms, and beside the neck. There are tiny, little bolts, so the model’s actually screwed into the piece.

It’s not heavy. It’s made from aluminum, and even though it looks quite restrictive, the model actually said the piece was actually very, very comfortable.

It’s a beautiful piece in my mind because it looks quite like armor, but then it’s very flattering to the female form, and it’s a really beautiful silhouette of the female form.

The beautiful thing about the whole collaboration, working with McQueen, was that it helped me push the boundaries of how jewelry should be perceived and how it should be worn, and we’re left with these beautiful iconic pieces.

In McQueen’s Words

“I especially like the accessory for its sadomasochistic aspect.”

L’Officiel, February 2010