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AW96 Alexander McQueen ‘Life is Pain’ Mesh Sheer Tank-Top

AW96 Alexander McQueen ‘Life is Pain’ Mesh Sheer Tank-Top


Measurements & Condition


Chest - 17.25 in / 43.8 cm

Length - 21.25 in / 54 cm

Shoulders - 14 in / 35.6 cm

Hem - 16 in / 40.6 cm


Condition 9/10

  • Alexander McQueen’s prolific Fall 1996 collection was titled ‘Dante’. Basking in reference to both Christianity and the occult, he’d first find duality in the name, referencing Dante Alighieri, the eponymous narrator of Dante’s Inferno. Guiding readers through the nine circles of hell, Alighieri’s infamous work ‘Divine Comedy’ would help McQueen draft the show’s initial, religious-centred concept. Set in London’s 18th Century ‘Christ Church’, a building McQueen was fascinated with in relation to architect Nicholas Hawksmoor’s suspected ties to satanism, he would place a human skeleton in the front row. McQueen’s fascination with war, and its relationship with religion also stood out as a large theme throughout the Fall of ‘96, plastering harrowing imagery of war-torn distress during Vietnam’s great collide. McQueen would comment “I think religion has caused every war in the world, which is why I showed in a church". Among such masterful references, to finish the British designer would select hues of black (death), white (purity), and lilac (Victorian half mourning) to encircle the collection. Doubling as one of Alexander McQueen’s greatest works, Dante would also portray his inauguration to the menswear circuit, igniting the tradition of theatrics until his death in 2010.


    Among the tense setting of McQueen’s Fall 1996 collection, stood pieces seeping with Christianity. Of such, the infamous ‘Life is Pain’ tank top lies, hailed as a pinnacle of the show’s intricate design philosophy. Crafted in a lightweight, sheer textile, ‘Life is Pain’ lettering arcs across the chest, accented by an embroidered cross just beneath. On the underside an face is found on the shoulder finalizing this incredibly rare piece of history. In fact, this tank-top comes as the most lucrative iteration of the few ‘Life is Pain’ tank-tops, sporting both the cross and face motif opposed to the McQ logo. In pristine condition throughout, tagged as a size small.

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