At least once in their career, every successful designer has had the opportunity to work with a talented team full of wildly creative and out of-the-box ideas. Some of these artists can be incredibly talented, to the point where even designers might become jealous. Then there are those who, no matter how talented they may seem, don’t want anyone on their team to be in the spotlight. On the other hand, some designers don’t let new talent stay in the shadows, but embrace innovation and bring new names to the industry.
In his short 40-year journey, Alexander McQueen changed the face of fashion by boldly bringing art and craftsmanship to the runway and seamlessly integrating the brand’s energetic spirit with a technological touch, but he was also known for his positive approach to his team. He never left his staff and creative partners in the dark, but he always played an important role in shaping them into individuals with their own personalities. British designer and jeweler Shaun Leane is the man behind some of the most iconic pieces in the McQueen collection. A versatile fashion innovator who has built a huge and dedicated fan base with his eponymous brand and continues to work for the British royal family…
He left school at 14 to work for his father’s construction company, but an unexpected decision shaped his future career. After meeting with a career counselor who recommended he should take a course in jewelry design, Shaun Leane turned his talent for crafting into a career. As a young and talented student, Leane grew into a jewelry designer who combined fine craftsmanship with a modern sensibility. His professors noticed not only his strong skills in jewelry design but also his ability to restore antique jewelry.

At 18 he was making diamond tiaras for some of London’s prestigious jewelry houses such as Mappin & Webb, Garrards and Aspreys. The British Royal Family were one of his clients. Alexander McQueen and Shaun Leane met through a friend in 1992. They quickly formed a strong bond and decided to work together. Leane helped McQueen translate his ideas into jewelry, while McQueen encouraged him to learn new skills and move beyond what seemed to be unorthodox ideas for jewelry.

“Alexander has changed my world, pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and think outside the box. I was lucky enough to be born a creative person, but the people I met along the way gave me courage and confidence. I will never forget my beloved McQueen and will always be truly grateful.” – Shaun Leane.

This collaboration resulted in some of the most epic and groundbreaking jewelry in Alexander McQueen’s history: “Crown of Thorns” from the Fall/Winter 1996 collection, the iconic “Spine” Corset from the Spring/Summer 1998 collection, the “Male Jaw Piece” from the same collection, and the sensational “Coiled” Corset from the Fall/Winter 1999 collection. The two artists worked together until McQueen’s tragic death in 2010, creating countless pieces for the fashion world.

The designer, who launched his own brand, Shaun Lane Jewellery, in 1998, is known for his ethereal and easy-to-wear collections, as well as featuring some of the designs he created for Alexander McQueen. Continuing a tradition of working with the British royal family that began many years ago, Shaun serves as head designer for young royals such as Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, and Princess Beatrice.