Oyster Dress (Detail)
A number of gowns in Alexander McQueen’s “Transitions” collection of spring/summer 2003 appear to be poetic renderings of a disaster at sea. While a similar dress appeared colored like the plumage of a tropical bird, this gown of sand-colored organza recalls the mille-feuille ridging on the surface of a shell. The hem of the skirt, like the wavy lip of a giant mollusk, further emphasizes the seashell quality of the gown. But unlike Aphrodite, who was born in the foam of the sea and borne to shore on a scallop, McQueen’s beauty is a bruised pearl encased in a deconstructing oyster, the tumbled survivor of the violent action of waves.