alexander mcqueen

Important Fall 2003 Alexander McQueen 'Scanners" Runway Look 55 White Silk Corset Dress w Silver Sequins & Embroidery

This is a very recognizable Alexander McQueen piece. While there are many of his pieces out there that only die-hard collectors would know at first glance, this is one of the dresses that you instantly know is McQueen. Lee had only recently joined the Gucci Group at this point and his shows were becoming bigger and more commercial. The Fall 2003 collection was titled 'Scanners' and he went to the frozen arctic tundra for the show set. The runway was a wasteland set against an icy mountain. Models walked among rubble and rocks on the runway and and a dusting of snow covered everything. The name of the show came from the invitation that had scans of McQueen's actual brain on them. In the book "Alexander McQueen" by Abrams, they noted that "the collection engaged McQueen's interest in Eurasian culture and was presented as a journey of displaced travellers from west to east, from dark to light across the harsh planes of Siberia through Tibet, and into Japan, the land of the rising sun." The looks touched on both Russia and Japanese themes as well as mixing in a little bit of his signature punk. This is the twin of the dress that walked the runway for Look 55 and it is outstanding. It also has a strong tie-in with red carpets and we have included photos of some of the people that have worn one here including Eve and Naomi Campbell. This is an exceptional, very rare and extraordinary piece of his work for the collector. It might even make an amazing choice for a bride looking a non-traditional choice or alternative dress in a more extended wedding celebration.

This dress is beautiful and rarely does one see this level of workmanship in ready-to-wear. The fabric is a feather light white silk chiffon that moves with the barest breathe of air. The cut is classic McQueen with a low cut squared off neckline at the front that is meant to hold and push the breasts upwards. Underneath the bodice sits a band of silk to add some shape and structure. This tiny little detail adds the perfect bit of shape and gives the bodice its empire cut. The back is scooped to show a bare expanse of skin. I love how the straps are meant to sit at the very outer edge of your shoulders. Inside it is lined in an ivory silk satin and has hidden set boning. The construction is beautiful and done to the high level that you expect from runway McQueen. The skirt falls from the band beneath the bodice and there are yards and yards of silk used to create the skirt. At the front it is cut to just past the knee or just above mid-calf, depending on your height. It curves around the back where it drops in length at the centre and then there are two long panels on either side of you that fall to the floor. The effect this multi-length hem creates when you move is fantastic. As you walk it floats out behind and around you. You can see the movement in the runway video and it is extraordinary. If that was not enough, the entire dress was then hand, beaded and sequin with a combination of silver thread, tiny little silver beads and tiny silver sequins. They form an exquisite and highly detailed trailing flower design that is denser around the hem and then trails up the dress into the bodice. Attached ties extend out from the centre back of at the waist with extra extra long ties that can be wrapped around you or tied and left to trail out behind you. This is a work of art from one of the greatest designers of our time. Excellent condition. 

Fully lined in a white silk satin through the bust and white silk chiffon through the skirt. It closes with a series of large hidden set hooks at the back. The hooks could be moved a quarter to half inch up or down to get more or less room. The interior bust is shaped and boned. Hand finishes throughout. No size tag present. 

Bust: 15-16" flat across from side seam to side seam
Empire waist: 14" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: open
Bodice: 9" from top of shoulder to the top of the 1" band under the bust
Total length: 39" from top of shoulder to the front hem, 44" to the shortest pont of the back hem, 59" to the longest point of the hem.

Modern Sizing Equivalent: XS-SML

Item# DD4744

Reference Photos/Video: (1-3) Fall 2003 Alexander McQueen Runway, Look 55. Model Natalia Vodianova.  /  (4) Eve at the 2003 CFDA Awards.  /  (5) Naomi Campbell at a Party thrown in honor of McQueen, November 2004.  /  (6) Lily Donaldson on left at the 2006 Met Gala.  /  (7) Julia Schlaepfer wearing this dress at the BAFTA Tea Party, 2024.

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