Left: Alexander McQueen / Strapless evening dress / Black and green silk taffeta, glass, and leather / Fall 2007, In memory of Elizabeth Howe, Salem 1692, England / Lent by Alexander McQueen
Sorcery and superstition in the Dark Ages have long intrigued those with a gothic sensibility. This dress is from a collection inspired by one of Alexander McQueen’s ancestors, who was executed for witchcraft. Like his Joan of Arc collection, it alludes to the history of religious persecution.
Right: Christian Dior (John Galliano) / Evening dress and cross necklace / Red coated silk, black ink, and metal / Spring 2006, France / Lent by Christian Dior, Paris
In The Crimes of Love (1800), the Marquis de Sade argued that the gothic novel of terror was “the fruit of the revolution of which all Europe felt the shock.” The French Revolution also inspired this dress. Embroidered on the skirt is an image of de Sade, with the words: “Is it not by murder that France is free today?”