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

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010)
Widows of Culloden, autumn/winter 2006–7
Dress of McQueen wool tartan; top of nude silk net appliquéd with black lace; underskirt of cream silk tulle
Courtesy of Alexander McQueen
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

Read an article by Jonathan Faiers about McQueen and tartan.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Andrew Bolton: Sarah Jessica Parker wore a variation of a dress from McQueen’s Widows of Culloden collection to the opening of Anglomania, an exhibition celebrating British fashion here at the Met. McQueen was her date, and he wore a kilt of matching tartan.

Sarah Jessica Parker: I said, “I would be so honored to wear your family tartan and walk up the steps of the Met with you.” So that’s really where it began.

Andrew Bolton: What was it like being fitted by him?

Sarah Jessica Parker: Well, I always describe it as one of the really great, memorable experiences of a lifetime because I think by the time I met him in person, I had been exposed to a nice amount of fashion. So I had started, at that point, to understand what went into something being well made. And I couldn’t believe the diligence.

He had these gorgeous hands. And he just worked. And he was quiet and unthinkably shy, didn’t look in your eyes much, didn’t want to, wasn’t interested in engaging; it wasn’t important for me to be his friend. You know, he was very concerned about his work.

In McQueen’s Words

“Scotland for me is a harsh, cold and bitter place. It was even worse when my great, great grandfather used to live there. . . . The reason I’m patriotic about Scotland is because I think it’s been dealt a really hard hand. It’s marketed the world over as . . . haggis . . . bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it.”

The Independent Fashion Magazine, Autumn/Winter 1999