In the mid-90s, Britpop ruled music. But while most were looking back with laddish vigour to the Kinks, Stones or Beatles, the best British designer of his generation was saluting a more difficult idol. David Bowie, whose archvie is now subject of a landmark exhibition at London’s V&A, was returning with a series of typically prophetic, violent and glamourous albums – dressed, of course, in Lee Alexander McQueen’s designs. For the 26th issue of Dazed & Confused, the two titans of British youth culture interviewed each other, accompanied by a special photoshoot styled by Katy england and shot by Karena Perronet-Miller of his clothes. Over to you, David…
DB: Unlike most designers, your sense of wear seems to derive from forms other than fashion history. You take or steal quite arbitrarily from, say the neo-Catholic macabre photographs of Joel Peter Witkin, to rave culture. Do you think fashion is art?
AM: No I don’t. But, I like to break down barriers. It’s not a specific way of thinking, it’s just what’s in my mind at the time. It could be anything – it could be a man walking down the street or a nuclear bomb going off – it could be anything that triggers some sort of emotion in my mind. I mean, I see everything in a world of art in one way or another. How people do things. The way people kiss.
DB: Do you think of clothes themselves as being a way of torturing society?
AM: I don’t put such an importance on clothes, anyway. I mean at the end of the day they are, after all, just clothes and I can’t cure the world of illness with clothes. I just try to make the person that’s wearing them feel more confident in themselves because I am so unconfident. I’m really insecure in a lot of ways and I suppose my confidence comes out in the clothes I design anyway. I’m very insecure as a person.
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