This morning, the fashion world was stunned when the news came down that forward-thinking fashion designer Alexander McQueen had died. His passing robs the fashion and design world of one of its finest and most daring minds. McQueen was 40 years old.
Over his career, McQueen has gained quite a bit of attention for his collaborations with music artists (most recently with Lady Gaga, for whom he provided some of the otherworldly clothes for the “Bad Romance” video). One of his most notable came back in 1997, when McQueen designed the album cover for Björk’s game-changing Homogenic. The album was Björk’s first attempt to bridge the world of electronic music with more organic elements (including orchestral score and unusual applications of the human voice, both of which figure prominently on Homogenic’s hit singles “Joga” and “Bachelorette”), and she approached McQueen to try to capture the album’s icy, otherworldly cool in a cover image.
“When I went to Alexander McQueen, I explained to him the person who wrote these songs — someone who was put into an impossible situation, so impossible that she had to become a warrior,” Björk told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1998. “A warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love.” Though the cover appears to be a straight illustration, Björk actually posed for the image. “I had 10 kilos of hair on my head, and special contact lenses and a manicure that prevented me from eating with my fingers, and gaffer tape around my waist and high clogs so I couldn’t walk easily,” she said. “I wanted to put all the emotion of the album into that image.”
The cover wasn’t McQueen’s only contribution to Homogenic, as he also directed the video for “Alarm Call” (one of the later singles from the record). The clip finds Björk on a raft in the middle of a swamp, singing and communing with various creatures (including a giant snake and a crocodile). It’s a fantastically loopy video that perfectly matches the song’s tone and Björk’s approach. Check out a clip below.