Spinning Class

More proof-positive that Alexander McQueen was not simply a great fashion designer but also a true visionary comes from an article in Britain's The Daily Mail which recently reported that UK department store Debenhams has become the first major retailer to show a disabled model in an advertising campaign. 32 year old Shannon Murray has been using a wheelchair since breaking her neck at the age of 14. McQueen included the double-amputee model and athlete Aimee Mullins over 10 years ago in his Spring 2000 Collection. She wore intricately carved wooden legs!

Just how many men and women are being sent home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with missing limbs is not certain but the numbers are significant enough to raise awareness of a potential new consumer group, people with special needs.

Principles by Ben de Lisi for Debenhams Spring 2010

The late, great photographer Helmut Newton was famous for exploring "the dark side" of beauty. In 1995 he caused an uproar in fashion circles by showing the physically perfect and perfectly able-bodied Nadja Auermann in a wheel-chair, leg brace and with a seemingly prosthetic leg. As The Washington Post pointed out in Newton's obituary,
"The image struck a nerve as it seemed to proclaim that there was something erotic in disability, in pain, in a broken body."

US Vogue February 1995

Helmut Newton and Alexander McQueen, two artists who loved to re-examine the meaning and definition of beauty and taught us how to shift the paradigm too.


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