Dress, Widows of Culloden, autumn/winter 2006–7

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010)
Widows of Culloden, autumn/winter 2006–7
Pheasant feathers
Courtesy of Alexander McQueen
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

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Andrew Bolton: McQueen often used the raw materials of nature, and a striking example is this dress, which is entirely covered with pheasant feathers. The silhouette, with its long torso, is based on dresses from the 1890s.

The dress formed part of the 2006–7 collection, Widows of Culloden, which referenced a battle in the struggles between England and Scotland. As Trino Verkade explains:

Trino Verkade: Lee refers to it as the second half of Highland Rape because it refers back to the Culloden fight, but a lot more optimistic view of it. And I think, in his own words, it’s using more beautiful finishes. It’s less of an angry look, and it’s a more positive view. And it was set up to balance the Highland Rape show.

Andrew Bolton: The collection was completed ten years after the seminal Highland Rape show, when McQueen had become an established figure in the fashion world.

In McQueen’s Words

“I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.”

NATURAL DIS-TINCTION UN-NATURAL SELECTION (spring/summer 2009) program notes

“Birds in flight fascinate me. I admire eagles and falcons. I’m inspired by a feather but also its color, its graphics, its weightlessness and its engineering. It’s so elaborate. In fact I try and transpose the beauty of a bird to women.”

Numéro, December 2007