Surrounded by McQueen

Quietly last Fall, Alexander McQueen, the brand, introduced a line of rugs and home accessories, in collaboration with The Rug Company.

No stranger to designer collaborations, the UK-based home decor mecca has worked with Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and dozens of artists and designers over the years. They know how to do it right.

This is not fast fashion for your foyer, my dears. This is divine dressing for the den – and beyond.

Being a bit of a McQueen dreamer, I fell head over hummingbirds for these designs.

The collaboration took three years and the results echo the mastery of McQueen and the level of luxe detail The Rug Company is known for. The carpet couturiers even explored new weaving techniques and spun sumptuous yarns to accommodate the genius of McQueen.

The military brocade rug, for example, incorporates golden silk yarn, raised from the wool background – all of which is carved by hand. Look carefully and you can see that the serpent is wrapped in oak leaves and originates from a skull in the centre of the design and is surrounded by wreaths and ferns. The devil – and the divine – is in the details, my dears.

Alexander McQueen Military Brocade Rug for The Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Alexander McQueen military brocade rug: hand-knotted Tibetan wool and raised silk.

It raises your consciousness of what a rug can be, no? The design came from a coat from the FW01 collection.

Alexander McQueen FW01 Military Brocade Coat on exshoesme.com
The coat that inspired the rug, from Fall Winter 2001. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

Going back ten years in time to find these images, I am reminded again of how ahead of his time the man truly was. These would still be stand-out pieces today. His clothes are museum-worthy, aren’t they?

Alexander McQueen FW01 Gold Skull Stole on exshoesme.com
A gold skull “stole” from the FW01 collection.

The “stole” above, looks like another piece of wearable art from McQueen mate Shaun Leane.

Lee was consistent in his depictions and inspirations. The military brocade design appeared ten years later, in what would be his final collection.

Alexander McQueen FW10 Intarsia wool and silk blend dress on exshoesme.com
The Intarsia wool and silk blend dress from FW10.
Alexander McQueen Military Brocade Rug for The Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Compare them again.

The dress above, is a more wearable interpretation of this glorious caped coat.

Alexander McQueen FW10 Gold and Blk Brocade Cape on exshoesme.com
The gilded, caped coat – such darkness and light in one garment.
Alexander McQueen FW10 Gold and Blk Brocade Cape on exshoesme.com
Echoes of the Asian theme still exist, but are intricately woven with western motifs.

McQueen often worked in stark contrasts – light and dark; east and west; modernity and tradition; real and surreal.

Alexander McQueen Milan Boutique Window with Rug Company display on exshoesme.com
The rug in the window of the Milan boutique.
Alexander McQueen Military Brocade Rug on exshoesme.com
How it could look in your world…

Feathers were another consistent theme for McQueen. They appeared in many forms during his shows over the years – perhaps birds were the inspiration for his frequent flights of fancy.

Alexander McQueen Feather Rug for The Rug Company on exshoesme.com
The hand-knotted Turkish cashmere Feathers rug.

The cashmere yarns used in the rugs were woven to reflect the softness and lightness of the feathers they depict.

Feather Dress from the Alexander McQueen SS08 show on exshoesme.com
The softness and lightness of a feather dress, from the Alexander McQueen SS08 show.
Alexander McQueen Feather Rug for The Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Is it me, or can you feel the softness of that cashmere through these images?

They take you to another world. You are transported.

Alexander McQueen birds from Voss SS 01 on exshoesme.com
Getting carried away during Voss, SS01.
Alexander McQueen Feather Wing Dress FW09 on exshoesme.com
Ferocious feathers from FW09.
Alexander McQueen Feather Bodice FW09 on exshoesme.com
A bodice for a goddess: from FW09.

McQueen was inspired by birds of prey and lovebirds, alike. I will never forget his hummingbirds, though.

Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company Hummingbird Cushion on exshoesme.com
Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company hummingbird cushion, wool and silk aubusson with metallic thread.

The history of the term, aubusson dates back to workshops that originated in 1743 in the villages of Aubusson and Felletin, France. These workshops were established to weave pile carpets for nobility and royal residences. The pile-less tapestry technique previously in use in this district was adapted for so many of the carpets, that the word Aubusson has become synonymous with a flat-woven French tapestry or carpet.

I saw many of these on a visit to the South of France more than a decade ago. I’ll never forget that artisan, nor his stone-walled cave workshop.

Alexander McQueen Hummingbird Pillow for the Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Beauty, captured.
Alexander McQueen Red and Black Bird Dress FW09 on exshoesme.com
The Edgar Allan Poe-try of a dress: FW09 McQueen.
Alexander McQueen Red and Black Bird Gown FW09 on exshoesme.com
“Reflections of – the way life used to be. Reflection of – the love you took from me.”
Alexander McQueen Suit from The Birds SS95 on exshoesme.com
Alexander McQueen suit from The Birds SS95 – one of his earliest runway shows.

But like I said, it’s the hummingbirds that have me singing a consistent tune.

While the bulk of the collection was launched last October, designs like this one, have only become available recently.

Alexander McQueen Hummingbird Rug for The Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Alexander McQueen hummingbird rug for The Rug Company: hand-knotted cashmere and silk.

I will not lie – I want this rug lying on my floor – and I want to wear this dress lying on top of that rug – if only for the freedom of living in a McQueen dream…

Alexander McQueen Hummingbird Dress on exshoesme.com
One of my fave McQueen pieces of all time – the hummingbird dress.

McQueen’s designs were always so cerebral – so it was fitting (and it fits so well!) that the man almost single-handedly had the world adorned in skulls.

Alexander McQueen Skull Rug for The Rug Company on exshoesme.com
The rug of skulls: hand-knotted Tibetan wool and silk.
Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf on exshoesme.com
The infamous McQueen skull scarf, copied the world over.
Alexander McQueen Skull Pillows for the Rug Company on exshoesme.com
“Rest your head. Don’t worry too much.”
Alexander McQueen Gold Skull Pillow for the Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Golden skull pillow.
Alexander McQueen Black Skull Pillow for the Rug Company on exshoesme.com
Wool aubusson, aussi.

The skulls made a memorable appearance on Ms. Moss.

Kate Moss during the SS04 Alexander McQueen show on exshoesme.com
Kate Moss, being, well, Kate Moss during the SS04 show.

She wore the same dress (and other notable ones from the past) for the May 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Kate Moss in the SS04 Alexander McQueen dress in the May 2011 issue of Harper's Bazaar UK on exshoesm.ecom
Kate Moss in the May 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar wearing the skull gown.

In that issue, Moss remembers her friend Lee, along with close compatriots Annabelle Neilson and Ms. Guinness. How any of us will ever forget him, I cannot know.

One way to never forget,  is to surround yourself in McQueen’s mastery, any way you can.

The rugs range from $4K to a soaring (think hummingbirds) $72K CAD, while the cushions are between $750 – $1K CAD.  All are available at Avenue  Road, the exclusive distributor for The Rug Company in Canada.

Why limit McQueen’s genius to your closet – when your condo, too can be dressed in couture?

One day that hummingbird rug will reside in my domain. It may not be domani but one day…

Images: All fashion show images courtesy of Style.com except for Intarsia dress which is from Netaporter.com; Harper’s Bazaar image courtesy of TFS; all rug and pillow images courtesy of Avenue Road and Alexander McQueen.

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