ALEXANDER THE GREAT: When the jeweler Shaun Leane sat down with Claire Wilcox, curator of “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” to sort through pieces to be shown at the exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, he was hit by a wave of nostalgia.
Leane was a close friend and collaborator of Lee Alexander McQueen for more than 20 years. “When I looked at all of these pieces in my atelier it was very emotional because each piece was individual for a different show,” Leane told WWD. “It was kind of like a landmark of my career, every piece was a landmark of my career, and of my friendship with Lee. We were very very close friends.
“So I thought to kind of mark this occasion of the exhibition (which has been extended to August 2) I wanted to create a collection that echoed the kind of work that me and Lee had done together, the kind of signature we had. I harkened back to the Nineties when we first started working together and the silhouette that we first started working on — or I started working on — was this very refined line, it was a tusk earring and it was a very simple refined line that was quite powerful.
“We’d (also) made these beautiful fan feather earrings, we’d made these beautiful porcupine quill earrings. And I looked at everything we’d done and what Lee had done in the past and there’s a real strong presence of feathers in my work and in his work. So I thought the perfect thing would be a quill.”
To wit, Leane has launched a 22-piece collection that includes silver and gold vermeil quill pendants, rings, leather bracelets and cuffs. The Quill Collection is available for purchase at the V&A, Harrods and Selfridges with prices ranging from 125 pounds, or $195, for a bracelet or earrings, to 600 pounds, or $937, for a gold or silver cuff.
With quills in mind, Leane staged a presentation of the collection earlier this week and offered calligraphy lessons to visitors at the House of St. Barnabas in Soho.
“When you think of the feather quill you instantly think about Shakespearean times, when they used to write with the feather quill. I’m quite sentimental and I still write letters and I still post cards. I think there’s an emotion with that and there’s a memory. I think there’s an emotion in handwriting and I think it’s something that we’re losing and it’s something we really must try to bring back. “