Never-before-seen images of Lee Alexander McQueen’s life and work have been released in the book of the French photographer Anna Deniau.
Text: Sophia Karagianni
«I wanted you to document my life from the beginning, in your unique way; now you have my life in pictures. I trust you. I wanted it that way» said Lee Alexander McQueen to Anna Deniau in 2009. And so it happened. In September 2011, Anna Deniau took the decision to bring the book to life. It was very difficult for her, she admits, to look at any pictures after she lost him. However she felt that this book was a duty for her, a matter of trust and radical honesty. She regrets waiting this long, but now she is so happy, for Lee, that the book exists and feels relieved.
Anna Deniau was the only photographer given permission to go backstage on McQueen’s shows for 13 years and the only person McQueen wanted to take his portrait.
The designer and the French photographer first met at the end of 2006, when she was working for the Fashion House of Givenchy and he was the creative director of the brand. Anna Deniau’s mission was to record the creation of McQueen’s first collection for Givenchy.
The book is entitled ‘Love Looks Not With The Eyes: Thirteen Years Lee Alexander McQueen’. The title refers to a line from «A Midsummer Night’s Dream» which the designer had tattooed on his right arm. «That’s the only thing I know for sure» he told her, when she asked why he chose those words.
The book contains over 400 photos from the making of his 26 epic fashion shows, from 1996 to his final show in 2010.
It is a tribute to his talent and to the man himself. In this book there is a perspective of the designer’s work that the audience never had a chance to see before. She could capture the dark, the strong as well as the romantic side of the designer.
Anna Deniau was not just a photographer of Alexander McQueen, she was much more than that, she was also his close friend and confidant. There was a real connection between them. «It’s not backstage, it’s inside; and it’s not access, it’s trust», she said to an interview in Elle magazine. She wanted to present something as close as possible to Lee Alexander McQueen, a man she knew: «He had dark moments like any creative artist, great ups and downs, but apart from that he spread such light. He was very generous, he was faithful, a lovely person, he was very cheerful».