21 June 2023


Lee was known for gifting his friends with pieces straight off the runway, completely unaware that they would become more emotionally and financially valuable than his ‘greatest auction hits’.

Noteworthy pieces from the auction circuit include McQueen’s signature use of black lace—a jumpsuit from the Fall 2006 ‘Widows of Culloden’ collection, the panier evening dress straight from the Spring 2007 ‘Sarabande’ runway—and his final runway appearance. Unsurprisingly, the Spring 2010 ‘Plato’s Atlantis,’ sell without fail. And yet, the prices for these icons fall short of past listings, signaling a shift from the well-known in favor of the overlooked.

Surprising the dégradé silk kimono from ’La Dame Bleue,’ Spring 2008 collection previously sold for £48,000. This listing was promoted with a photo of Annabelle Nielson wearing it to the 2008 Vanity Fair Party in Cannes cementing its status as a piece belonging to history in a larger sense as opposed to the back of a closet. For any vintage buyer, part of what makes collecting special is the idea that you’re not only buying a dress, but the memories that accompany it. Although as kimono sales go, not special enough to beat the latest sale of a 1984 John Galliano kimono from Steven Philips collection that sold for £160,000.

“Perspective is very important with regards to McQueen auctions: Four McQueen auctions in one year. There were many items that sold for less than I would have expected, as well as higher “star lots”. Even though the La Dame Bleue kimono may not be a traditionally notable garment in McQueen’s resume, it only takes two interested parties (with resources) for it to become a highly contested piece. That could happen with any item. Given the garment’s provenance and meaning to the McQueen legacy, it’s exciting to see it was highly regarded.”
– John Matheson, @mcqueen_vault

"We want to open your eyes to the darker side of McQueen’s creative genius, a side not typically seen in auction lots and eBay feeds."

We don’t disagree that this particular dress stems from a catalytic collection—a tribute to the McQueen’s champion and friend Isabella Blow—but there are more deserving pieces of greater importance than this.

Buying vintage McQueen is not a trend, nor will the moment pass where it is both relevant and rational to invest in culturally consequential items. But now that Lee’s story and his later collections have become mainstream, it’s only natural that we look further back to the very early days of Lee’s journey to the pieces made straight from his hands. Straight from the runway and gifted to models and friends. Pieces that belonged to people who were there to support him at the very beginning. Who wore them and gave life to them. And typically find their way to us.

We are not here to sell you gowns for events that are no longer happening; instead we want to open your eyes to the darker side of McQueen’s creative genius, a side not typically seen in auction lots and eBay feeds.

“It is both exciting and concerning what is happening with archival fashion. People connect to McQueen on a very emotional level, which speaks to his ability to imbue a garment with a mood or moment. At the core of what he did he was a realist with clear concepts made into dynamic design that mirrored the culture and climate of the world.  It is less about still holding on to McQueen, rather than his work still being incredibly relevant, even more so in such a chaotic world. He addressed familiar and forward-thinking topics, and people understandably want to own a portion of this vision. In terms of the market, aspirational public figures and social media have made archival fashion more visible. Due to that momentum, an unfortunate side-effect are items regularly being mis-dated and mis-sold across the board at every level from auctions to dealers. I hope that the arena achieves a sense of equilibrium at some point.”  – John Matheson, @mcqueen_vault

Alexander McQueen
'Eye' very mini dress, S/S 2000
Alexander McQueen
Naked photo t-shirt, F/W 1998