Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 6 April 2020

Rare early designs by Lee Alexander McQueen go up for auction

Ten years after his tragic death, 74 pieces of early work by the British designer are going under the hammer

A highlight of the Alexander McQueen sale is this black Dante military matador coat, which is being sold with its original paper and braid motif patterns. Courtesy RR Auction
A highlight of the Alexander McQueen sale is this black Dante military matador coat, which is being sold with its original paper and braid motif patterns. Courtesy RR Auction

Ten years after his tragic death at the age of 40, Lee Alexander McQueen’s creative genius is being showcased in a special sale by Boston’s RR Auction. On Saturday, February 22, 74 pieces of rare early work by the British designer – including sketches, patterns and garments hand-sewn by McQueen himself – are going under the hammer.

It’s a world-class private collection of rare and one-of-a-kind early Alexander McQueen items

The pieces have been carefully conserved by Ruti Danan, former head of the McQueen studio and a friend of the designer’s. A member of his original studio team, Danan had maintained the collection of patterns, shoes and assorted personal affects since her time working with McQueen between 1994 and 1996. At that time in fashion, many studio team members went unpaid, and were given items in exchange for their work.

The auction includes 74 pieces of early work by the British designer. Courtesy RR Auction
The auction includes 74 pieces of early work by the British designer. Courtesy RR Auction

While Danan briefly wore some of the articles, she was also dedicated to preserving them, to ensure their longevity. “It’s a world-class private collection of rare and one-of-a-kind early Alexander McQueen items,” says Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction.

The collection reiterates McQueen’s visionary approach, use of historical references and sense of showmanship. Among the highlights was a black Dante military matador coat, which is being sold with its original paper and braid motif patterns. Part of Mcqueen’s autumn/winter 1996 collection, the wool and cashmere military style matador jacket features an asymmetrical tail coat with extensive gold braid detailing, a high colour and a signature McQueen padded shoulder.

The remarkable sale also includes McQueen's sketches and patterns. Courtesy RR Auction 
The remarkable sale also includes McQueen's sketches and patterns. Courtesy RR Auction

Ruti recalls arriving at the studio one morning to find this jacket created from scratch overnight by McQueen. Only three of this design were ever made - one was sold at London’s Liberty Department store in London and the other was owned by Isabella Blow. The piece is estimated to sell for between $150,000 and Dh200,000, with bids starting at $20,000.

The sale also includes a sketch book with 36 original Lee McQueen design drawings, composed during a trip to Italy in the mid-1990s; a photo album with 88 behind-the-scenes photographs taken by Danan during her time at the studio; drawings from the spring/summer 1996 The Hunger collection; and looks from McQueen’s controversial 1995 Highland Rape collection.

Updated: February 21, 2020 05:34 PM

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