It’s April Fools Day. Here is Lee McQueen fooling around with a scull and a fag. But perhaps making a serious point about death. But today is good day to discuss Bumsters. See below, as it were.
For me the best and most interesting aspect was to be found near the start of the exhibition which is, in many ways, overwhelming. At the start are a number of garments leant by Katy England, his stylist, who worked for him throughout. She obviously chose wearable pieces that show the virtuosity of cutting and design. I am sure these jackets will have very wide appeal.
It was also very interesting to see the iconic “bumster” trousers close up. These, like the dress above left – with a spine revealing slot – focus on the curvature of the spine and were a McQueen invention, first shown in 1996. Lower than a hipster, with a very low rise, and revealing both the base of the spine and some of the bottom, these trousers would be almost impossible to wear. They were held up by an integral rubberised belt, built into the inside of the trousers.
Although they are preposterous I actually find the look rather beautiful, especially on Kate Moss – certainly compared to the effect created by young men wearing their jeans so low their pants show.
However the bumster is not a trouser style that could be recommended for normal mortals – the horizonatal line emphasises the width of the hips, exposes both buttocks and abdomen and will only stay up with cruel and unusual features. If you have ever worn hold up stockings and experienced the unpleasant feeling of rubberised, clinging pressure you will know what I mean. Apparently, Kylie Minogue was the only person to buy a pair, but the design sparked a trend for low-slung styles. “To me, that part of the body – not so much the buttocks but the bottom of the spine – that’s the most erotic part of anyone’s body, man or woman,” he said in 2009. An original pair of bumsters were sold for £3,500 in December 2014.