In 2004, Alexander McQueen returned to London for a very special catwalk show, Black, funded by American Express. At the event, McQueen's long-term collaborator Nick Knight was on hand to capture the models - including Kate Moss, Lily Cole and Naomi Campbell - in their looks before they headed onto the catwalk. He had just minutes to shoot each girl, posed pressed-up against a sheet of glass, mimicking the striking glass box set of the show. McQueen and Knight intended to assemble the images after the show, but never found time and the photographs have sat untouched in Knight's archive for nearly a decade. To celebrate the opening of Savage Beauty at the V&A in London, and to pay tribute to Lee McQueen by completing the circle of their Black sponsorship, American Express supported the completion of this ambitious image. It is a fitting step in their lengthy sponsorship of Lee McQueen. American Express began working with him in 1997 and helped support a variety of his most acclaimed presentations, including his debuts in Paris and New York.
To complete the Black image, Knight worked for weeks to assemble the photographs into a striking tableau that references key motifs visible in McQueen's work and pays tribute to his skill as a maker. It is the final step in SHOWstudio's support of the Black event - footage of our original coverage and films from 2004 is available to view here - and sits alongside our ambitious Unseen McQueen series, launched alongside Savage Beauty.