December 12, 2022
5 minute read

Lee Alexander McQueen and Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010), Four-panel minidress, Crystal kaleidoscopic print blazer, and Multicolor silk moth print kaleidoscope dress from Natural Dis-tinction, Un-natural Selection, Spring/Summer 2009 and Plato’s Atlantis, Spring/Summer 2010. Photo by Barrett Barrera Projects. Courtesy of Barrett Barrera Projects & RKL Consulting

A Canvas by a Sacramento, CA – The Crocker Art Museum is pleased to present Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous, opening to the public on December 18, 2022.

The first high-fashion exhibition to be presented at the Crocker, Rendez-Vous pairs photography and related garments in its Sacramento début, which will be followed by a multi-city tour. The exhibition is curated and organized by Barrett Barrera Projects and will be on view through April 2, 2023.

The exhibition explores the thirteen-year friendship and intimate creative collaboration between the late British fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen and French photographer Ann Ray, whom McQueen personally selected to document his design process and the behind-the-scenes experience of his runway shows. Brilliant and provocative, McQueen designed for his own label, led design at Givenchy between 1996 and 2001, and partnered with Gucci from 1999 until his death in 2010. Ann Ray, who met McQueen when he was named lead designer at Givenchy, is not only a photographer, but also a filmmaker and poet.

“You know, it was simple. He was part of my life, we loved each other, I had rendez-vous,” said Ray. McQueen and Ray’s friendship began with a simple agreement in which money, business considerations, and fashion had no place. “I like your images, but I’m broke. Give me your photos, I’ll give you clothes,” Ray recalls McQueen expressing to her early in their relationship.

With exotic materials and impeccable tailoring, McQueen’s creative range is on display in 50 enchanting creations, with runway moments and garments captured in 63 of Ray’s dynamic photographs. Barrett Barrera Projects manages the largest private collection of McQueen’s work and is the owner of Ann Ray’s full McQueen photographic archive.

"We are delighted to host this exhibition exploring two dynamic creative minds, their collaboration, and their exciting creations," said Lial A. Jones, the Crocker's Mort and Marcy Friedman Director and CEO. "We all look forward to this unique insight into the world of fashion, a new subject for the Crocker's exhibitions."

Adjoining the exhibition is The McQueen Dressing Room Experience, an interactive space that allows visitors of all ages an opportunity to think about McQueen and Ray's work through experiential activities. Visitors can try their hand at embroidery, explore patterns and fabrics, and pose for a photo on the runway.

The exhibition comes alive through a suite of related programs and classes. Details and registration information are available at

Public Programs

  • The Official Rogue Book Club: Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin by Andrew Wilson - January 5

    • The first definitive biography of the iconic, notoriously private British fashion designer Alexander McQueen: Blood Beneath the Skin unravels insights into McQueen’s private life and the source of his creative genius, giving an intimate look at the dark side of the designer's rise to fame.

  • ArtMix: Runway - January 12

    • Experience the thrill of fashion week with this haute couture edition of ArtMix, inspired by the iconic runway creations and behind-the-scenes photography on view in Lee Alexander McQueen & Ann Ray: Rendez-Vous. Live fashion shows, DJ battles, a glamorous make-over bar, pop-up shops, and experiential digital art are just a few of the surprises that await at this one-night-only celebration of design, fashion, and virtual reality!

  • Music for McQueen - February 2

    • Join us in the galleries or online for a unique sensory experience inspired by the role of music in Alexander McQueen’s infamous runway shows. From electronic hits to the avant-garde work of experimental composers, this audial tour is certain to leave you awe-inspired.

  • Backstory: Simon Ungless on Alexander McQueen - March 4

    • Fashion designer and educator Simon Ungless—close friend, collaborator, and roommate to the late Alexander McQueen—discusses the Rendez-Vous exhibition, his friendship with and memories of McQueen, and the legacy the fashion icon left upon the world.

  • Sketch Night: Fashion Illustration - March 30

    • Guided by informal instruction, sketch your way through the Rendez-Vous exhibition. Sketch Night is a special opportunity to get up close with some of fashion’s most illustrious works of art.

Studio Classes

  • Historicism in Contemporary Art - January 15

    • Discover the confluence of art and history via contemporary masters in the Crocker's permanent collection and special exhibitions. See art through a new lens as we explore contemporary creative inspiration, from Alexander McQueen's fashion masterpieces to Kehinde Wiley's portraiture and beyond.

  • Fashion Design from the Ground Up - January 28 and 29

    • Familiarize yourself with the vastly intriguing world of fashion from various stages of creation. Drape, sketch, and design your own simple but stunning dress.

  • Drink and Draw: Figure and Drapery – February 26

    • Come unWINEd with us at the Crocker! Sip wine and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of drawing. All supplies are provided, and previous experience is not necessary.

  • Get to Know Your Digital Camera - March 19, 26, and April 2

    • Observe and discuss the photography of Ann Ray, then move beyond your camera’s auto mode to create stunning digital images.

About the Artists

Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer who founded the iconic, eponymous label, served as chief designer of Givenchy from 1996 to 2001, and collaborated with Gucci from 1999 to 2010, the year of his death. McQueen was known for designing outside the conventions of the fashion world, often taking inspiration from avant-garde installations, theatre, performance art, and gothic fairytales. The immersive experience of his runway shows allowed fashion to transcend commodification. McQueen saw fashion as an artistic medium, one capable of evoking the sublime and providing commentary on identity, culture, values, and politics. His work has been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum in the solo exhibition Savage Beauty.

Ann Ray is a French visual artist. She is self-taught in photography, except for alternative processes, which she studied at Central Saint Martins in London. During the late nineties, she lived in Tokyo and London, where she forged an unbreakable relationship with Lee Alexander McQueen, whom she immediately recognized as a pure artist. This was the start of an intense friendship and artistic collaboration that was as prolific as it was unique. From 1997 until the designer’s tragic end in 2010, Ann Ray’s caring gaze captured the spirit of the man and the essence of his work in many intimate situations: portrait sessions, at work in the studio, during performances – images of truth that reveal McQueen’s creativity.