Impressive runway-worn renaissance brocade jacket designed for Alexander McQueen's memorable 'Dante' fashion show, intricately staged inside London's candlelit Christ Church Spitalfields on March 1, 1996, as part of the designer’s Autumn/Winter 1996 collection. The jacquard woven satin jacket boasts a black-on-white "Alexander McQueen" label sewn inside the back; above is a plastic pouch containing a coiled locket of human hair, a signature of McQueen's early work inspired by the Victorian-era practice of keeping locks of hair of loved ones.
The jacket is constructed from a satin fabric ornately woven in gold against dark gray, with slashes to sleeves and body edged by graduated ivory satin. The rear waist has short 19th century–style pleated peplum, and the front can be clasped by hook and eye closures. When fully fastened, the narrow lapels turn into a stand collar. The interior is lined in ivory silk, and the bust measures 34 inches. In fine condition.
This jacket was given as a gift by McQueen to his close friend and muse Alice Smith; she believes that only three of these jackets exist. This jacket is depicted on the runway in Alexander McQueen: Unseen by Robert Fairer, and in Alexander McQueen: Fashion Visionary by Judith Watt. Watt notes that the cut and slashing of the sleeves was based on a jerkin inspired by Juan de Alcega's Tailor's Pattern Book of 1589. This significant piece also receives notable screen time in the 2018 documentary, "McQueen," in which you can see Lee himself styling the jacket on a dress form.
McQueen's 'Dante' collection was named for the 14th-century Italian poet Dante Alighieri, whose Divine Comedy portrays an allegorical vision of the afterlife; the show, in the words of McQueen, was about 'war and peace through the years.' According to his collaborator Philip Treacy, Dante was the show that elevated McQueen’s career to the international level: 'The thing is, everybody loves Alexander now, but they didn’t at the beginning…when he did that show, suddenly people could see his potential, because it was beautifully done.'
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.