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Designer reminisces about McQueen

Designer reminisces about McQueen

Shaun Leane and Lee McQueen would discuss new ideas over a pint of beer.

Shaun, a celebrated jeweller, shared a close friendship with Lee, who helmed label Alexander McQueen before he took his own life in 2010.

An exhibition showcasing Lee's work is on display at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, with Shaun hosting a private dinner and viewing for guests including Yasmin Le Bon and Jodie Kidd.

“We were best friends and 22 years old. We’d finish work and go and have a beer at [east London pub] The Eagle on Farringdon Road and catch up, then talk about work and inspire each other and get excited and talk about the next show – that’s where our ideas would come,” Shaun recalled to WWD.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty opened last month and is on display until August 2. It spans from Lee's 1992 MA graduate collection to his unfinished Autumn/Winter 10 line.

Talking about a silver bodice that he designed for the label, Shaun reveals it wasn't thought up in a conventional fashion studio.

“When I look at that piece it makes me smile because we designed it on a serviette at The Eagle… and then it hit the runway of Givenchy couture [for spring 2000] in Paris,” he laughed.

As part of the exhibition there is a Cabinet of Curiosities, a room filled with the atavistic and fetishistic creations made by Lee and other accessory designers, including milliner Philip Treacy.

Shaun has never forgotten how special it was to work with Lee and reveals it helped launch his own career.

"Lee gave me total freedom and a platform where I could express my ideas. He helped me push boundaries from my traditional training. There was such an energy - everybody who worked for McQueen was always so inspired, respected him so much and valued his mind and his genius - we wanted to prove that anything was possible and we did. And so did he," Shaun said.

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