To celebrate the launch of Alexander Fury's new monthly column with Re-SEE, Behind the Seams, Re-SEE hosts an exclusive exhibition featuring a portion of Fury’s extraordinary personal collection. Here, Alexander fury shares what attracted him to these extraordinary pieces.
Welcome to the world of Fury.
Azzedine Alaïa Beret and Gauntlets, Fall/Winter 1983
"Azzedine Alaïa established his global reputation in the early Eighties with a series of eyelet-studded garments and accessories in melton wool and leather - the latter originally a collection created for the shoe manufacturer Charles Jourdan, but rejected as too provocative and sexual. Alaïa instead released the pieces under his own name, immediately causing a fashion sensation and establishing said pieces as part of his distinct lexicon of style. The eyelet, punched through material and therefore becoming part of its structure, is typical of Alaïa’s approach to decoration formed from integral components of garments (intarsia knits, broderie anglaise, inventive seaming) as opposed to applied design."
Antony Price Cocktail Dress, Fall/Winter 1986
"Antony Price is, arguably, the most criminally-overlooked designer in British fashion history, a man credited as the architect of the distinct art-fashion look of the rock band Roxy Music. I originally fell in love with his work as a teenager, and began to collect his clothes as a student at Central Saint Martins, entirely enamoured with their structural complexity, extreme silhouettes and heightened sexuality - themes I seem to return to again and again in collecting. This dress is an abstract representation of a bird’s wing, its span buttoned across the body, a reflection of Price’s love of ornithology and the inspiration he draws from the display inherent to courtship ritual in the animal kingdom. Formed from a single piece of pleated taffeta, it is a masterpiece of construction - another example is held at the Victoria and Albert museum in London."
Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Evening Dress and Fichu, Fall/Winter 1987
"For me, the exuberance of Christian Lacroix’s imagination opened a window into the past, inspiring a journey into fashion history that I started as a child in the Nineties and never really got over. This example, from his haute couture debut in July 1987, collides references to mid-century haute couture, the ostentation of late nineteenth century fashion, and the traditional costume of Arles in the Provençal region, where Lacroix was born, raised, and resides today. I was always fascinated with this first collection, intensely documented at the time, a moment hurrahed as a fashion watershed - but, ultimately, a dance on the lip of the volcano just three months before that year’s Wall Street crash. It wound up a glorious relic of a cultural moment - a bonfire of the vanities - that vanished almost overnight. "
Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld Jacket, Spring/Summer 1991
"Karl Lagerfeld’s sensational resuscitation of the house of Chanel redefined the relationship between a designer and a fashion label - if Lagerfeld, arguably, didn’t shift the way fashion looked to the profound level of his contemporary Yves Saint Laurent, he fundamentally altered the way fashion is created, how we examine it. And, certainly, he was unafraid to thumb his nose at legacies that others would hold in hushed reverence, opening the doors for revivals such as Tom Ford’s revamp of Gucci, John Galliano’s revitalisation of Dior and, latterly, Demna’s retooling of Balenciaga. This famous jacket, one of a sequence in bright shades as well as classic black and worn by the ‘Face’ of Chanel, Claudia Schiffer, allies Chanel’s emblematic cardigan jacket with modern wetsuits, covered in slick wet-look sequins as if the wearer was drenched in the ocean. In an affront to Chanel’s declaration that every button must have a buttonhole, a row of obnoxiously large buttons are purely decorative, with a rear zipper. "
Jean Paul Gaultier Coat, Fall/Winter 1993
"One of the most controversial fashion shows ever staged, Jean Paul Gaultier titled his Fall/Winter 1993 ‘Les Rabbins Chic’ - or ‘Chic Rabbis’ - and drew inspiration from the clothing of the Hasidic Jewish community Gaultier saw on a trip to New York. Celebrating the culture - and including labels with the designer’s name written in Hebraic script, prominently fixed to the exterior of garments - there was also a subversive bent, mixing together male and female clothing signifiers and showing on a multi-cultural cast of models, possibly as a critique on the strict rules and restrictions of Hasidic life. Many considered the collection a step too far, encroaching on sacred territory that should not be presented in a fashion context. But it has always been a collection that fascinated me, and showed the inestimable talent of Gaultier both as not just a provocateur, but a designer who can provoke deep and meaningful consideration through wholehearted embracing of other cultures. Appreciation, as opposed to appropriation. "
John Galliano Minimono, Fall/Winter 1994
"The greatest fashion show of all time was possibly - in my opinion, probably - staged in March 1994 a tumbledown 17th century mansion at 6 rue Férou in Paris’ 6th arrondissement. Once owned by Mademoiselle de Luzy, reputed to be a mistress of Talleyrand, by the spring of 1994 it had come to be owned by the socialite São Schlumberger who, over a luncheon of Portuguese sardines, agreed to loan it to a fledgling young designer, John Galliano, for his Fall/Winter fashion show. Lit from the outside, to simulate a perpetual dawn, the show comprised 18 almost all-black outfits, mostly in satin-backed crepe - one of the few fabrics the then near-destitute Galliano could get his hands on. Inspired by a collision of Asian themes and approaches and Occidental styles evident across the collection, this style combines the traditional form of the Japanese kimono with a double-breasted evening jacket. Cut wickedly short in a modern reflection of confident sexuality, Galliano dubbed these styles the ‘Minimono.’ Famous for its economy of materials but seemingly endless invention, this collection launched Galliano on an international stage. It reset the direction of fashion away from grunge, championing glamour, femininity and luxury. It made magic. "
John Galliano Houndstooth Wool Suit, Spring/Summer 1995
"Held in a mise-en-scène inspired by ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Galliano’s Spring/Summer 1995 collection - titled ‘Misia Diva’ - continued the trajectory of his previous offering, proposing complex, highly-constructed clothes that traced their lineage back through a century of fashion greats. Here, they help define the career of another. This suit, worn by Yasmeen Ghauri, was the stand-out day look of the show: in houndstooth checked wool, a handspan waist with padded peplum hugged the body below technically ingenious ‘disappearing’ lapels, panelled into the bodice of the jacket, a device which Galliano had used in his work since the mid-1980s and were inspired by the work of French post-war couturier Jacques Fath. On each elbow, button fastening details are drawn from gloves."
John Galliano Evening Dress, Spring/Summer 1995
"The cut of this garment predicts John Galliano’s future role as artistic director of Dior, where he designed between 1996 and 2011. The cut of this satin and chiffon gown, known as the ‘Scissor’, was first explored almost a decade earlier in Galliano’s Spring/Summer 1996 ‘Fallen Angels’ collection. But its origin was in the work of Dior, namely his ‘Ciseaux’ gown of Fall/Winter 1949, exploding the same blades of fabric dramatically slicing around legs. Originally worn by Shalom Harlow, this dress is a throwback to the Dior tradition - as was much of this collection, employing ingenious and highly complicated construction methods to achieve its effects, The duchesse satin bodice of this dress is not only boned, but also padded at the breasts to achieve its hourglass silhouette. The skirt has a small hole, made by the stiletto of its previous owner, who evidently wore it with glee."
John Galliano Evening Dress, Fall/Winter 1995
"A masterpiece of construction, this bias-cut dress from John Galliano’s Fall/Winter 1995 collection features an inlaid image of a carnation, a reference to the collection’s Spanish theme. The invitation was a cachet of love-letters, including one on the station of the ‘Rose of Alhambra’ hotel, the show set recreated the snow-dusted rooftops of Seville, and models wore evening gown with flamenco ruffles, or trains inspired by toreador capes. This dress, however, was the collection’s outstanding piece - all fit and construction seams are hidden inside the sinuous, Aubrey Beardsley-esque lines of the carnation, snaking around the body to end, at the hem, in a single tendril. Bias-cut in the technique championed by Madeline Vionnet and constantly explored by Galliano - who described bias-cut fabric as resembling ‘mercurial oil’ - the dress has no fastenings or linings and is as simple to wear as a t-shirt. Only around five were ever made."
Vivienne Westwood Bustle and Corset, Fall/Winter 1995
"Vivienne Westwood has declared her Fall/Winter 1995 collection - Viva La Cocotte - as her favourite, because she constructed a silhouette that had never been achieved before. Its echoes can be found throughout fashion history: the tightly-laced stayed that reformed the torsos of 16th and 18th century court favourites; the wire-caged bustles of the 1880s; the sexy pin-up underwear of Westwood’s own teenage years in the 1950s, with fleshy girdles and ‘Bullet’ brassieres. But here, conflated and inflated, it becomes something entirely new. Westwood herself said it made the models at this show resemble fashion illustrations come to life. These extraordinary foundation garments - corset with padded breasts and the wire cage ‘cul’, in metal forged by the father of her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, in the Tyrol - sat underneath every outfit of Westwood’s collection, which had to be exaggeratedly tailored to fit over their extreme protrusions. Simultaneously archaic and modern, they underscore Westwood’s gleeful post-feminist re-embracing of sexist cliché as empowered clothes for the sexually free modern women - an idea she had explored since her work with Malcolm McLaren at the forefront of the punk movement in the 1970s. Although undoubtedly extreme, the silhouette of this collection had a profound influence on modern fashion, not least on the work of John Galliano."
Gucci by Tom Ford Thong, Spring/Summer 1997
"Rarely has so much been done by so little. An ode to sweat-drenched, lurex-clad libertines of the 1970s - Ford’s favoured stomping-ground for the first few years of his tenure as creative director - the Spring/Summer 1997 Gucci show featured an eye-catching, buttock-baring pairing of male and female models wearing g-strings (geddit) with the Gucci double-G logo nestled in the cleft of their coccyx. Ford himself apparently shaved the buttocks of the male model employed to wear this particular style, whose blatant provocation formed the antecedent to later sexual escapades, such as the rapidly-banned 2003 advertising images of a female model with a Gucci ‘G’ shaved into her (exposed) pubic hair. This was a lucky find discovered on eBay."
Christian Dior by John Galliano Jacket, Fall/Winter 2000
"The newsprint on this jacket has numerous ancestors. In penury in the 1920s, the penniless Marchesa Casati - a Fin de Siècle eccentric par excellence who inspired numerous Galliano outfits and shows - reputedly greeted visitors in bed, wearing a hat and scarf of newspaper. A decade later, Elsa Schiaparelli invented a newspaper print comprised of press clippings about herself. And Judy Blame, legendary creator of fashion as objet trouvé, used newspaper as a favoured styling motif in the Eighties. The most direct thread behind this jacket however unravels to the January 2000 Christian Dior haute couture show, inspired by rag balls of the 1800s and the homeless seen by John Galliano on his morning run through Paris. The newsprint used in that show, on silk taffeta, was comprised of excoriating reviews of past Dior shows from the International Herald tribune, while this iteration - the Christian Dior Daily - was fictional. This jacket was fastened on the catwalk with two enormous gold safety-pins pierced through the fabric of the jacket, perhaps another ode to Judy Blame. "
Gucci by Tom Ford Cocktail Dress and Shoes, Spring/Summer 2001
"Few designers are persuasive enough to cajole models into having one half of their head shaved - as Tom Ford did for the Spring/Summer 2001 Gucci menswear show and campaign. The Gucci womenswear collection that followed was equally severe, strict and dramatic, a shift from Ford’s sensual Seventies to something tougher and sleeker, harking back to the hard-edged look of the Eighties. It’s a decade that has always appealed to me - perhaps because, growing up in the Nineties, it was so reviled: the heavily constructed clothes, sharp shoulders and rampant, strident sexuality were the polar opposites of deconstruction and gender ambiguity. They were fascinating in their alien nature. It feels like something I have been drawn to over and over - as well as making for great, emphatic fashion moments. This ensemble opened the Gucci show, worn by Kate Moss."
Louis Vuitton by Marc Jacobs Horizonal Alma, Spring/Summer 2001
"Art-fashion collaborations have now become near cliché, but when Marc Jacobs invited Stephen Sprouse to - for want of a better term - fuck up the pristine and precious image of Louis Vuitton, it was genuinely revolutionary. While Yves Saint Laurent and Elsa Schiaparelli had both worked closely with artists to create clothes, the results had been a dance between high art and high fashion, and restricted to haute couture. When Salvador Dali wanted to splatter the lobster dress he designed with Schiaparelli with real mayonnaise, the couturière dissuaded him from his anarchy. By contrast, Marc Jacobs embraced Sprouse’s urge to disrupt, allowing him to scribble his signature script across the Vuitton Monogram - so hallowed that, in the construction of their bags, the house never cuts through the ‘LV’ initials - and over styles such as this Epi leather Alma, squished to a new elongated proportion. These bags define an era, and an aesthetic approach that still influences today."
Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière Leather Jackets - Looks 1,2,3, Fall/Winter 2002
"The genius of Nicolas Ghesquière is taking pragmatic, everyday garments - such as the leather jacket - and reinventing them, season after season. His early collections for the house of Balenciaga revolved around this idea, often toying with shape and proportion to subtly reshape the body until, when presented as a total look, the human form seemed unrecognisable, reconfigured. The silhouette for Fall/Winter 2002 focussed on an abbreviated torso, elongated leg and narrow shoulder, exemplified in this opening trio of jackets combining leather with knit. A riff on patchwork following on from his breakthrough Spring/Summer 2002 collection, these jackets also underscore Ghesquière’s tendency to expound ideas in sequence - strength in repetition, hammering home a decorative approach or design."
Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière Cocktail Dress, Fall/Winter 2008
"From 2006 until he left the house in 2012, Nicolas Ghesquière explored the language of Cristobal Balenciaga’s archival haute couture creations - tied, originally, to a major exhibition staged at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in July of that earlier year. This collection fused the austerity characteristic of Balenciaga - drawn from his Spanish upbringing and his Catholic faith - with Ghesquière’s fascination with science fiction. This dress was one of the rusts: in fine wool, it is bonded to give structure, resulting in a moulded, neoprene-like texture that moulds around the body, often holding away from the figure and recalling Pauline de Rothschild’s assertion that Balenciaga’s clothes stand away from the body imperceptibly, like a sea swell. Rigorous and architectural, this dress underscores how Ghesquière drew from the ethos of Balenciaga, if not always the look, to propel the house into a new era."
Prada Shoes, Spring/Summer 2010
"Paradox is an idea central to Miuccia Prada’s approach to fashion - combinations that challenge convention, clothes that seem to tussle with their own sense of self. The cheap can be expensive, the real can look fake - to borrow from the title of a landmark 1996 collection, the banal can be eccentric, and vice versa. These shoes, from Prada’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection, are contradictory - which was a central theme. “High and low, palazzos, and the popular," she said. Their hefty platform soles speak of weight and sturdiness, yet they are strung with delicate chandelier crystals that threaten to shatter at ever step. Said crystals appear expensive, but are actually plexiglass, the body of the shoe itself PVC. And, of course, they are a throwback to the populist notion of Cinderella and her glass slippers, a magical idea of fashion as transformative talisman."
Lanvin by Alber Elbaz Cocktail Dress, Fall/Winter 2012
"Frilled, frivolous, follie. The work of the late, great Alber Elbaz is often - and best - described as light, which many take as a physical descriptor but I always view psychologically. Elbaz imbued his clothes with a lightness of spirit and a lightheartedness - I will always remember the giddy rush of seeing so many of his shows, a bubbling excitement and light-headedness. Really great fashion can often be about more than just the clothes - about the music, the mood, the context of the times. The Lanvin collections Elbaz presented in 2008, in the immediate aftermath of the financial crash, are remarkable in that they managed to transport viewers away from the gloom of reality. This is a later example, from a collection that exuberantly celebrated Elbaz’s first decade at Lanvin, which began in a rigorous exploration of form through moulded dresses but quickly disintegrated into the fizzy pop of party dressing, laden with jewels and furs, great clothes destined for an even greater time. And that was kind of the genius of Elbaz - he didn’t think so much about the clothes, but about what they’d be worn for. This is the original show sample."
Marc Jacobs Jumpsuit, Spring/Summer 2013
"Marc Jacobs has never fallen out of love with the Sixties - that’s why, perhaps, he bonded with Stephen Sprouse, the first figure to revive the era idiosyncratically in the early Eighties. Jacobs’ Spring 2013 show was an ode to Edie Sedgwick and Warhol’s factory - this slithery jumpsuit, striped like a barcode blown up, was worn by Jamie Bochert. Typically Jacobs, the simple design is sequinned rather than printed, adding a level of sophistication and polish that echoes designs such as his 1993 grunge collection, where thermal underwear and lumberjack checks were translated to silk and cashmeres. There is always an interplay with the precious and, to borrow a Jacobs-ism, the ‘trashed’ in his clothes - in this instance, all those sequins are applied to a garment with a utilitarian feel and entirely modern ease of wear."
Louis Vuitton by Nicolas Ghesquière Cocktail dress, Spring/Summer 2019
"Nicolas Ghesquière’s work for Louis Vuitton has been marked by a contrast of past and future - collections predicting the future (fashion is, after all, a season ahead) have been presented in museums, including the Louvre, itself a former fortress of the French establishment and a space where Louis Vuitton, the man, passed through to pack the trunks of the Empress Eugenie 150 years ago. This dress simultaneously represents both, a lace-like mesh densely embroidered with sequins in an expression of age-old Parisian savoir-faire, but with shape straight out of science fiction and inspired, Ghesquière stated, by space suits. "