Dress, Highland Rape, autumn/winter 1995–96

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010)
Highland Rape, autumn/winter 1995–96
Green and bronze cotton/synthetic lace
Courtesy of Alexander McQueen
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

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Trino Verkade: People then started to see him as an artist, because this was somebody who was talking through his shows and through his clothes on a very personal level about something that was really powerful and quite shocking to people. This was in 1995. This is a time when people were doing minimalism. And Lee just came along and just socked them right in the face with the . . . with this show.

This collection was the first time that he did the torn lace, which was to become a signature of his. And we’d buy the lace in Brick Lane, and we’d cut ’round each flower to give that very delicate, torn appearance, which . . . it became something of a look for him.

In McQueen’s Words

“[This collection] was a shout against English designers . . . doing flamboyant Scottish clothes. My father’s family originates from the Isle of Skye, and I’d studied the history of the Scottish upheavals and the Clearances. People were so unintelligent they thought this was about women being raped—yet Highland Rape was about England’s rape of Scotland.”

Time Out (London), September 24–October 1, 1997