EYE CANDY

Backstage With Alexander McQueen, During His Most Up-Close and Vulnerable Moments

2018-RAY-cat01.jpg
© Ann Ray

It may be hard to believe, but the designer Alexander McQueen wasn’t the most popular fashion ingenue when the artist Ann Ray met him backstage at Givenchy, shortly after he’d taken over the brand’s helm at just 27. That would, of course, soon change: The 13 years to come would see McQueen focus entirely on his namesake label, solidify his reputation as a creative genius, and, in 2010, tragically kill himself, at just 40 years old. Ray was not only there for that whole legendary period but was arguably its foremost documentarian, taking no fewer than 35,000 photographs of McQueen—not to mention, of course, the work that he produced, which at the time select few were privy to. (McQueen’s celebrity-shy team, for example, famously declined Victoria Beckham’s request for an invitation to his spring/summer 1999 show, which would go on to be one of his most famous stagings ever, opened by his muse Aimee Mullins, in a pair of hand-carved prosthetic legs that some, mistaking them for boots, would later ask to borrow, and closed out by Shalom Harlow, in full former-ballerina mode, spinning in circles as two robots sprayed her white cotton dress with yellow and black paint.) Now, not just Beckham but the greater public can finally get a closer look at those moments thanks to “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” an exhibition of Ray’s photographs on view at the Atelier des Forges, in Arles, through September, which you can preview here.

1
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Insensé, featuring Shalow Harlow, 1998. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

2
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Deep Dive. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

3
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Inside II, featuring Alexander McQueen, 2000. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

4
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Radical Honesty, 1998. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

5
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Les Oiseaux, featuring Jade Parfitt. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

6
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Mystère, 2002. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

7
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Procession, 2002. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

8
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Roses Are White, 2007. Hat by Philip Treacy. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

9
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, White Suit, featuring Alexander McQueen, 2002. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

10
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Birdy, 2006. Headpiece by Philip Treacy. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

11
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Final Conversation, 2010. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

12
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Disappearance, 2010. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.

13
© Ann Ray

Ann Ray, Featherweight, 2008. Featured in the exhibition “The Unfinished: Lee McQueen,” on view at the Atelier des Forges in Arles through September 2018.