Sunday, December 18, 2011

Retrospective: Givenchy Haute Couture 'Eclect Dissect', F/W 1997/1998, by Alexander McQueen


'Eclect Dissect' was McQueen`s second collection for Givenchy.


It was shown in Paris Medical School in july 1997.


For this show McQueen`s art director Simon Costin imagined a fictional surgeon and collector who travelled the world collecting exotic objects and women, whom he took apart and reassembled in this laboratory.


The runway show staged the return of these murdered women who come back to haunt the living.


The models embodied their ghosts, dressed in the exotic garments collected by their murderer on his foreign journeys.


Scottish tartan, Spanish lace, kimonos, Burmese necklaces and eastern folk dresses decorated with feathers and stuffed animals merge to outfits with a morbid aura.


The analogy between the designer and the surgeon is obvious.


McQueen acts like a surgeon himself here, dissecting the traditional clothes and reassembling them.


The japanese Obi, for example, becomes a corset and the Kimono becomes a tight skirt.


McQueen`s reassemblage didn`t make the women seem like victims but as vengeful ghosts.


He always wanted to empower women with his fashion and I think he succeeds with this collection.


The mix of cultures is extended beyond fashion; the show also makes references to his own, british, culture (in the 19th century): the dissecting-reference to Jack the Ripper (who also influenced his graduation collection) and the 'women returning from the dead' motif from the Gothic Novel.



Picture credit: Pogisto, © All rights reserved

Information credit: Book: 'Fashion at the edge: spectacle, modernity and deathliness' by Caroline Evans. Pages 154 - 156.

I LOVE this collection! It`s like an "early version" of 'Widows of Culloden' with an additional exotic touch. Not only is the tartan the same as in McQueen`s fall 2006 collection, the opening music of Givenchy was also played in his show!

McQueen is the only designer EVER to mix elements of Scotland, Spain and Asia - and it works! I love how the models act like victorian ladies, the Princess Leah hair and the Burka with the bird-cage on top! McQueen`s fantasy and courage to put traditional items into new contexts and mix cultures & times will be unrivalled for 100 years at least.

What is your favourite thing about this collection?


  1. I relate to the Scandinavian fairy-like designs, with two enormous dishes on the top of ears.

    I predict Scandinavian model era starting. After the Brazilians and Eastern Europeans and Russians, now maybe the snow princesses will take the stage;)

  2. Amazing post. I love the tartan pieces.
    I always enjoy reading your retrospective posts. I love all the thought you put in them.

  3. AMAZING!!!!!
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  4. Found this post by chance through the Links à la Mode group - great analysis of the collection. No matter how good Sarah Burton is, I miss Alexander McQueen.

  5. Fabulous never goes out of style does it? What a wonderful collection. So many wearable pieces within the drama and theater too!

  6. Fantastic Retrospective! Love Alexander McQueen designs. For Givenchy or his own brands!

  7. Simon Costin's sets were and are AMAZING!

  8. Crazy beautiful, love it. Just came across a site of the guy that did all the crazy, wonderful hairstyles genius.