"Spine" Corset (1998)
He (McQueen) was always fascinated by the spine. So he asked me to create a corset, which was the spine with the rib cage, so that the girl could actually wear this as a corset on the outside of her body, so we would see the beauty of these bone structures on the outside, attached to the dress.
And as we were doing it, Alexander came to me and said, 'Will you put a tail on this?' And where he got that idea was out of the film The Omen. When the mother of the omen was discovered—her skeleton—she was half-raven and half-dog, and he was quite inspired by this.
"I admire the past masters who - with their style and craftsmanship - created fine jewellery that was distinctive of its time. I like to fuse elements of tradition with a contemporary design approach. We cannot look to the future of design without remembering our past." —Shaun Leane
The Shaun Leane ethos was born at the bench in London’s renowned jewellery heartland, Hatton Garden. From the age of 15 Shaun Leane apprenticed in the finest techniques of traditional craftsmanship. He perfected the art of high end diamond jewellery mounting and antique restoration in an environment where skill was paramount and perfection was the only acceptable standard. This foundation of technical excellence and classic artistry is now the pre-requisite for Leane’s discerning philosophy. The House of Shaun Leane atelier comprises of a team of highly-skilled artisans, designers and technicians, all trained in the delicate yet innovative art of goldsmithing.
"Shaun has been a close friend and companion for many years. He captures the feeling of my work and the aesthetic of the time we are in... full of structure and finesse, crafted to perfection." – Alexander McQueen
For more than a decade Shaun Leane worked with the late Alexander McQueen to create a series of provocative jewels that have become iconic symbols of catwalk jewellery. First introduced in 1994, Leane and McQueen found themselves united by a shared passion for craftsmanship. Leane was working as a goldsmith in London’s Hatton Garden when McQueen asked him to create his first collaborative piece: a large silver tusk earring for his second show ‘Hunger’ in 1995.
It was a collaboration that drove Shaun Leane to push boundaries with new materials and scale, resulting in some of the most influential catwalk imagery of the last decade.
"Coiled" Corset (1999)
"The “Coiled” Corset was a particularly amazing piece because I had to cast the model’s torso in concrete to get an exact form of her, and then I had to literally form every coil, one by one, front and back, and work all the way up, so that it was a perfect fit. And she’s actually placed into the corset, and then it’s screwed all along the side, and up the arms, and beside the neck. There are tiny, little bolts, so the model’s actually screwed into the piece.
It’s not heavy. It’s made from aluminum, and even though it looks quite restrictive, the model actually said the piece was actually very, very comfortable.
It’s a beautiful piece in my mind because it looks quite like armor, but then it’s very flattering to the female form, and it’s a really beautiful silhouette of the female form.
The beautiful thing about the whole collaboration, working with McQueen, was that it helped me push the boundaries of how jewelry should be perceived and how it should be worn, and we’re left with these beautiful iconic pieces."