Have you ever caressed a loved one's baby-soft smooth skin and thought, "Give me this blemish-free flesh, you perfect monster"? Or at least, experienced some degree of skin envy towards those with flawless skin?
A London-based student designer has taken that to the next level with her proposed line of leather fashion and accessories you can own, so long as you're fine with everything being made out of revered fashion icon Alexander McQueen's skin. In Tina Gorjanc's "Pure Human" collection, Gorjanc presents jackets and bags, swathed in a disturbingly suggestive colour palette of peachy pink tones and camel hues.
For added effect, Gorjanc garnished some pieces with freckles, moles, and tattoos that mimic those her own body has.
Her project could be possible thanks to one of the late McQueen's first collections. In his graduate collection "Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims," McQueen sewed a lock of his hair to each garment, pinning them inside clear plastic baggies attached to the labels.
In keeping with his penchant for storytelling through fashion, it was meant as a homage to when Victorians exchanged locks of hair between loved ones as mementos. McQueen claimed that he was inspired by Victorian sex workers who would sell their hair to individuals who wished to exchange, but did not want to cut their own.
In its own way, his hairy memento mori paid tribute to Jack the Ripper's alleged victims, as well as nodded to his own ties to the serial killer (a relative of McQueen's owned an inn that the Ripper had supposedly stayed in).
In order to turn hair into flesh, Gorjanc plans to harvest McQueen's DNA from his follicles, then grow his skin tissue using a genetic process she's filed a patent for.
From that skin tissue, Gorjanc would tan and leather it. This refined material can then be adapted into the creations she's mocked up.
Gorjanc attends Central Saint Martins, of which McQueen is an alumni of. She chose to grow McQueen's skin for her graduate project to make a statement on commercial access to genetic data.
"If a student like me was able to patent a material extracted from Alexander McQueen's biological information as there was no legislation to stop me, we can only imagine what big corporations with bigger funding are going to be capable of doing in the future," she told Dezeen.
Right now, Gorjanc's project exists 100 per cent flesh-free. The garments displayed were made out of pigskin, treated with layers of silicon. However, as soon as she's able to guarantee her patented process works, the owner of McQueen's "Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims" collection has said they'd be willing to send a lock of hair Gorjanc's way.
If all this gets under your skin, you might not be happy to hear that human skin as fashion isn't unheard of. In Aztec times, war god Xipec Totec was depicted wearing human skin, with his worshipers following suit. And nowadays, the aptly named U.K. company Human Leather claims to sell clothing made out of donated human skin, but hasn't released any images of its wares.