Shaun Leane

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Just Williams -

Crown of thorns cre­ated for Alexan­der Mc­queen’s Dante show, au­tumn/win­ter 1996

I would al­ways get a feel when I was work­ing with Lee [Alexan­der Mc­queen]. I’d cre­ate, say, 20 pieces for a show, but there would al­ways be one or two he’d be re­ally ex­cited about. I would feel his en­ergy and take those pieces as far as I could. The crown of thorns was one he par­tic­u­larly wanted for the Dante show in Christ Church, Spi­tal­fields. He wanted me to cre­ate works that evoked life and death. I de­signed so many cre­ations for that show – from sil­ver rose-thorn vines that twined around the body to horned head­dresses. But the crown of thorns was the most im­por­tant.

I knew ex­actly what I wanted it to look like. I wanted it to be a pow­er­ful head­dress, but not too ag­gres­sive – quite grace­ful and el­e­gant. I didn’t want it to over­power Honor [Fraser, the model, left]. It had to be beau­ti­ful.

When I worked with Lee, ev­ery­thing came so nat­u­rally. I never re­ally ques­tioned what he wanted or what I was go­ing to do; it just all felt right. We liked to cre­ate things that in­spired and pro­voked. It wasn’t to shock, it was more to raise ques­tions.

I had been raised a Catholic and spent most of my child­hood and early teens go­ing to mass ev­ery Sun­day. I’d reached a stage of my life in my 20s where re­li­gion wasn’t re­ally in the fore­front. But when he asked me to make the crown of thorns, I didn’t ques­tion it; it was a sym­bol I grew up with and I made it with love and re­spect. In a way, it brought faith back into my life.

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