McQueen’s millinery moments


If there is a fashion alphabet, then millinery is its punctuation. Milliners provide the desired apostrophes, the question marks, or the exclamation marks to fashion- they are able to tell a story in a much more effervescent way. Something that Alexander McQueen understood really well.

Alexander McQueen’s collaboration with milliner Philip Treacy started in 1996 and would last until his tragic death in 2010. The two were introduced to each other in 1992 by fashion editor Isabella Blow, who was a mentor and muse to both. Having designed hats and headpieces for several of McQueens collections over the years, Treacy incorporated a variety of materials into his work and was able to translate the designer’s strong preoccupation with the natural world. Treacy’s explorations included exotic feathers from France, bird wings, horsehair, banana fibre, high quality straw from Italy, ram’s horns and antlers. This resulted in some his best works; the miniature Chinese garden headdress, the butterfly hat for La Dame Bleue, the bubblewrap hat for ‘Horn of Plenty’- and his magnificent feathered creations for ‘Widows of Culloden’ A/W 2006.

Treacy’s work for McQueen over the years is testament to the designers ability to continuously redefine how a hat could looks like, proving that you can create a hat out of anything. Reflecting back during an interview with Dazed Magazine he said “McQueen had an unorthodox approach. We had to blowtorched laundry basket lids for his Horn of Plenty show. There was a little bit of Ikea shopping going on, there!” The iconic Irish-born milliner released his massive book on October 13th- rendered in hot pink, covering up to 15 sections ranging from nature to couture. “The most interesting people in the world wear hats, and I get to meet them,” reads the foreword of his fresh released book by Rizzoli.

Images © Team Peter Stiger