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‘Coiled’ corset by Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen
‘Coiled’ corset by Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueenvia

The story behind McQueen’s coiled corset

Jeweller and long-time collaborator of the late designer Shaun Leane reveals the process behind the 97-coil piece

In a new interview with Dezeen magazine, jeweller Shaun Leane has revealed the story behind the iconic ‘coiled’ corset featured in Alexander McQueen’s AW99 show. Leane – a close friend and collaborator of the late designer – explains the process behind the piece:

“The ‘coiled’ corset was one of the first pieces I made for [McQueen],” he said. “I had to explore technology and I had to explore new forms of how to make things like electroforming. I'd never worked with electroforming even though it's a very old process. The ‘coiled’ corset, that was made from aluminium rod, pure clean metal, which I forged around a concrete cast of the model.”

According to the V&A, where the piece was put on display at the just-closed Savage Beauty exhibition, the corset is made from 97 handcrafted aluminium coils. Because Leane was only able to make eight coils a day, the piece took an enormous amount of time to create. When it came to the show it took 15 minutes to put onto model Laura Morgan – and almost as long to take off.

Leane collaborated with McQueen throughout his career. Among his most iconic designs was the theatrical ‘bird’s nest’ headpiece for AW06 and the sadomasochistic ‘spine’ corset for SS08. Together, said Leane, they “tried to change people's perceptions of what jewellery and fashion should be.”

Watch Alexander McQueen's AW99 show featuring the ‘coiled’ corset below: