The Mermaid Dress

fishtail dress

Alexander McQueen had a fantastically inventive mind. The recent exhibition of his designs at the V&A, entitled Savage Beauty, could only give some idea of this. My Pinterest boards are chock-full of his couture catwalk designs, even though I’ll never be able to own one, let alone wear one. He was never a believer in a woman being larger than a size zero.

This is a dress that McQueen designed while he was working at Givenchy, the French couture house whose muse was, for many years, Audrey Hepburn. I simply couldn’t imagine Hepburn in a dress like this; she was too wide eyed and innocently beautiful. This is much more a Jane Russell kind of dress (although I expect even she was too voluptuous for McQueen’s clothes). It oozes dangerous glamour.

Rather than being genuinely scaled, something I wouldn’t have put past McQueen at all in those days, it is the arrangement of sequins into a soft scalloped pattern that emphasises the distinctive drape you get from a bias cut dress. Strangely, I think you’d need a real figure to carry this dress off; like all of McQueen’s clothes, they’re not for everyone.


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