Another day, another Alexander McQueen/Met Museum story. No, we cannot get enough of it. Today it’s news of an interview with Sarah Burton that features in the book. Sarah Burton, currently the creative director of the British high fashion brand, reveals some wonderful memories of Lee McQueen while she worked as his assistant, from way before the “global brand” era, to back before McQueen was given the job at Givenchy haute couture. Apparently, before the interview, McQueen did not even realise it was for womenswear, thinking that he would be asked to collaborate on a Louis Vuitton handbag. The money that he eventually earned from being part of the LVMH stable meant that, back in London, the McQueen studio was transformed.
‘We had one pattern-cutting table, which used to belong to Body Map and Flyte Ostell, with chairs that didn't reach the table. When Lee got the Givenchy job, we got chairs that reached the table,’ she told Blanks. ‘And he was really excited because it meant there was money coming in, and he could do things he'd never done before.’
One particular thing that had never been done before – by ANYONE! – was one of the look in the A/W ‘99 show, ‘which involved a model in a Perspex robotic body,’ Burton says. ‘The guy who made the robot told us ten minutes before the model walked out, “If she sweats in the suit, she's going to electrocute herself. So tell her not to sweat.”’
Burton also recalls that when it came to putting on each catwalk show, McQueen, ‘couldn't help himself. Lee just didn't like doing normal catwalk shows and so much was expected of him.’
It seems both funny but very poignant now, that he used to tell his staff before each show, 'This is the last big one we're doing,’
- Naomi Attwood