Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Deep Sea Devotion: Alexander McQueen’s ‘Manta’ Designs

The vivid dresses feature digitally-enhanced, mirror-image-style prints, resembling giant manta rays, sea-serpents and other strange or imagined denizens of the deep, inspired by McQueen’s scuba-diving trip in The Maldives, last year.

Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, and Annabelle Neilson, McQueen’s muse and dearest friend, formed a ‘Manta Trio’ at the end of the Campbell’s ‘Fashion for Relief’ charity event at Somerset House, during London Fashion Week in February. This stunning visual tribute to McQueen, the brightest fashion star of his generation, echoed the supermodel homage at the end of the similar event in aid of Haiti, which Campbell had organised during New York Fashion Week, a few days after the designer’s tragic death by suicide, had been announced.

Most recently, the actress, Selma Hayek, who is married to Francois-Henri Pinault, the chairman and CEO of PPR SA, which has a 51% stake in the Alexander McQueen label, through its ownership of Gucci Group, wore one of the dresses to the Vanity Fair and the Sir Elton John Aids Foundation ‘Oscars’ parties in Hollywood.

The designer’s great friend, Daphne Guinness, was one of the first to go manta-mode, in November, soon after McQueen’s ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ spring/summer collection in Paris. A few days later, Noor Seear chose one for ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon” premiere, in Los Angeles. Lily Cole wore a ‘Manta’ dress for the premiere of ‘The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus’, in Tokyo, on January 14th, and, a couple of weeks later, so did Anna Paquin, for the 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, in Los Angeles.

The ‘Manta’ dresses have now sold out in London, despite their price tag in excess of £2,800.

But the McQueen D-Manta clutch-bag, which offers a tantalising, trenchant glimpse of how the late designer's fascination with Darwin’s theory of evolution could be translated into a pattern so evocative of his bizarre and beautiful imagination.

Available in a selection of colours, from £295,

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