Alexander McQueen Bird's Nest Headdress
Celebrating Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen retrospective curated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, milliner Philip Treacy and jeweler Shaun Leane take a closer look at an exhibition piece they worked on with McQueen.
Released on 6/13/2013
|Starring:||Philip Treacy and Shaun Leane|
McQueen wanted this piece to be high-end couture jewelry,
but contemporary and innovative as well.
I cared more about the hats we made for him
than anybody because he dealt in excellence.
Swarovski started to work with Alexander McQueen in 1999,
and it was really via Isabella Blow.
I think when it came to the show of Widows of Culloden,
with McQueen, the first thing he said to me was,
he said, I want you to use really precious metals,
and precious stones.
So you had these two pieces which was the nest with the eggs
which resembled life, which was the beginning of the show.
It was actually the first look of the show.
And then near the end of the show we had the skull
with the black feather plume,
which was more about death.
Two beautiful pieces reflecting
just two different elements of life.
One thing he did say, he said,
I'd like them to be like duck eggs.
You know, the blue with the speckled brown.
Blue topaz to create the main surface for the eggs,
and then we had the smoky quartz,
which we used a darker brown to make the speckles.
And we had to lay all the stones on very tightly,
very close, then drill out preset,
then we would cast these in two halves.
And the eggs went off to Philip Treacy,
and then that's where he created his magic.
They are beautiful.
Bird's wings are incredibly complex
and beautiful shapes anyway,
so when it came to decorating the nest,
I chose the mallard duck wings to go with it.
And it just seemed very obvious to use them
in its purest sense.
Then we actually wove the nest ourself by hand.
If there's one person that I could credit
for reintroducing Swarovski into fashion,
I absolutely credit Alexander McQueen.
It was an amazing time.
It was such an explosively creative time
in the UK fashion scene.
And of course for Swarovski it was exciting
to be a part of this.
For him, it was all about the show.
Shows are about fleeting moments.
And whether it's a sort of glimmer of sparkle,
or whether it's a two-second experience
where you're just witnessing something very transient.