Below is an excerpt taken from ‘My Mother’s Wedding Dress: The Life and Afterlife of Clothes’ by Justine Picardie on Erin O’Connor’s own experience at the show before and after tearing the shells
"First, her memory of appearing on the catwalk in London for Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2001 collection: a show that was much admired for its creative depiction of a ‘fashion asylum’; or in Erin’s words, ‘the lunatic show’, in which the models had white bandaged heads. In it, she wore a white dress made out of razor shells - all of them collected by McQueen himself, from a Norfolk beach - that had taken weeks, if not months, to make. ‘And he told just before I stepped out there that he wanted me to go really mad - that he wanted me to rip off the dress on stage. And I said ‘Are you sure?’ Because it’s a beautiful dress, and he kind of gets carried away, and it’s all pandemonium - and he shouts, ‘Yeah! Just do it!’ So off I go, I rip the dress, but the razor shells rip up my hands, as well. Afterwards, I go backstage, for sympathy, saying, ‘Look, my hands are really bleeding. Has anyone got any antiseptic wipes?’ And the hair and make-up people say, ‘Oh, MAJOR! Wipe your hands all over your bandage, it’ll look great, because your next dress is blood-red.’ So that’s what I ended up doing - no one had any antiseptic, and I didn’t have anywhere else to put my bleeding hands…’ "