The queen bee is a fascinating creature. In her sacred world, she is royalty. The leader of her hive, the mother of most, if not all that who reside with her, and one whom her dedicated worker bees care for. And she works hard – a well-mated and well-fed (on 'royal jelly') queen can lay around 2,000 eggs per days during spring, which amounts for more than half her bodyweight in eggs every day. She is clever, able to control the sex of the eggs she lays. She dominates her workers by releasing pheromones known as the queen's scent. When a strong, young queen bee senses a new potential queen bee has been born, she locates other virgin queens, stinging them one at a time. In the event that two virgin honey bee queens emerge simultaneously, they fight each other to the death.
"A honey-coloured palette, wasp-waisted silhouettes, chokers adorned with jewelled bees and striking, modern beekeeper veils"
It is fitting then that Sarah Burton found her inspiration for her spring/summer 2013 Alexander McQueen collection in bees. John Maybury's mesmerising bee film served as a backdrop for models that swarmed around the stage. A honey-coloured palette, wasp-waisted silhouettes, chokers adorned with jewelled bees and striking, modern beekeeper veils. “Maybe female worker bees", a pregnant Burton said backstage when asked about her inspiration, "like all of us in the studio."
Click here to revisit AnOther's summer celebration of bees.
Text by Laura Bradley