McQueen bumsters fetch £3,500 at auction

First pair of trousers in fashion designer’s infamous line were made for drag artist Trixie Bellair

A model wearing Alexander Mcqueen's Bumsters in 1996
A model wearing Alexander Mcqueen’s Bumsters in 1996 Photograph: REX

The first pair of bumsters, Alexander McQueen’s infamous trousers that revealed the wearer’s bum cleavage, were sold on Tuesday at auction in London for £3,500.

Bumster trousers, which first appeared on the catwalk in 1996 and became a signature look throughout the designer’s career, represented McQueen’s first step towards becoming fashion’s most notorious bad boy.

The exaggeratedly low-slung trousers were an instant sensation, a symbol of the British designer’s ability to marry smart tailoring with the power to shock. Speaking in 2009, McQueen explained the appeal of a cut that he pioneered. “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.

The pair sold at auction were made in 1992 for McQueen’s friend, drag artist Trixie Bellair. Unlike later McQueen catwalk pieces, which were known for being finely made, the inside of the bumsters reveals that they were put together on a sewing machine. The designer reportedly borrowed them back from Bellair to copy for the 1996 collection.

Other pieces for sale at Kerry Taylor Auctions included a short tartan dress with delicate lace work, for £16,250, and a silver beaded evening gown that could fetch £10,000.

His last full collection, Plato’s Atlantis, spring/summer 2010, was particularly highly prized. It is represented with two vividly printed dresses, one of which had an estimate of £12,000.

In March 2015 the V&A will host Savage Beauty, a retrospective of McQueen’s work that attracted more than 650,00 visitors when it debuted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011.

McQueen died in February 2010.


Lauren Cochrane

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Savage Beauty: McQueen retrospective comes home to London’s V&A
Exhibition which became second most popular ever at New York’s Met Museum set to return to city where designer lived

Jess Cartner-Morley

09, Oct, 2014 @5:50 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen exhibition becomes New York's latest blockbuster
British designer's show at Metropolitan Museum show attracts 661,409 visitors in just three months

Hadley Freeman in New York

09, Aug, 2011 @5:53 PM

Article image
First penny black stamp could fetch up to £6m at auction
Launched in 1840, Sotheby’s says the stamp ‘is the most important piece of philatelic history to exist’

Harriet Sherwood Arts and culture corresponent

26, Oct, 2021 @7:30 AM

Article image
Alexander McQueen hanged himself, inquest told
Award-winning fashion designer, who left note at scene, had been distressed by death of his mother

James Meikle

17, Feb, 2010 @10:58 AM

Article image
Alexander McQueen label to be sustained, French owner PPR says
French owner PPR says late designer's new collection will be shown in Paris as planned, and his brand will be maintained

Lizzy Davies in Paris

18, Feb, 2010 @4:05 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen label denies Kate Middleton wedding dress reports
Clarence House refuses to comment on story claiming that creative director Sarah Burton will design dress

Jess Cartner-Morley

06, Mar, 2011 @9:16 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen's fashion designs get artistic treatment at the Met
Late designer's work to be celebrated in major exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

Imogen Fox

22, Feb, 2011 @9:43 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty show to come to London
Fashion designer's retrospective, the eighth most visited exhibition in Metropolitan Museum's 142-year history, to be at V&A in 2015

Mark Brown, arts correspondent

24, Apr, 2014 @9:30 PM

Article image
Design award nominations favour Olympics and Alexander McQueen
Olympic velodrome and torch receive nods along with late designer's Savage Beauty show – and the Guardian's iPad app

Alex Needham

11, Jan, 2012 @12:43 PM

Article image
Alexander McQueen collection shocks Paris fashion week with extreme beauty

Creative director Sarah Burton casts aside the serenity of royal wedding dresses in favour of fetish-inspired fashion-as-theatre

Jess Cartner-Morley in Paris

04, Oct, 2011 @11:44 PM