Skip to main content

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind

William Shakespeare,
 From A Midsummer’s Night Dream

In 2007, Lee Alexander McQueen, one of the world’s most important fashion designers of the last two decades commissioned British photographer, Nick Waplington, to photograph and develop a book that would capture McQueen’s working process as he designed what would become his penultimate Fall collection, Horn of Plenty (2009), from inception to the grand finale presentation in Paris.

Waplington’s resulting images unflinchingly capture what was essentially McQueen’s personal survey of his own creations to date; Horn of Plenty  was a grand retrospective of his career; a recycling of ideas from the last 15 years – detailed down to the final stage set, composed of broken mirrors and a giant trash heap made up of all the sets from his previous shows. 

When finished photographing McQueen’s process from inception to presentation, Waplington had 800 work prints pinned to his studio wall, so that Lee could edit them himself. The images were then transferred into a maquette-type scrapbook and left with McQueen to finalize sequencing – but both artists felt something was missing. In searching to fill this void, Waplington went out with an 8 X 10 field camera and photographed landfill sites and recycling plants in places as diverse as Nottinghamshire, England and the Negev desert in Israel. These images not only added to Lee’s ‘recycling’ theme, but also spoke to Walpington’s own unique, ‘messy’ aesthetic. The work is not only a record of Horn of Plenty but also, the personal reflection of Lee Alexander McQueen’s vision of himself, and a tribute to the many important and lasting relationships he had with all those who worked alongside him. This exhibition provides insight into the unique collaboration  between two important artists of our time.

The book,  sequenced and edited by McQueen and Waplington, was realized just prior to McQueen’s death in 2010 and later published in 2013 as, Working Process (Damiani Editore).

Nick Waplington (b. 1970), is a British photographer born in Aden, Yemen. He studied art at West Sussex College of Art & Design, Trent Polytechnic, completing his postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art in London. Walpington received an ICP Infinity Award in 1993 and represented the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2001, His work is held in numerous museum collections, including the Guggenheim Museum and MoMA in New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.