Artist Marie Jacotey has long been drawing women – defiant, determined, often newly heartbroken but always resolutely survivalist women, who curse the day they met their ex-lovers even as they wish them dead – in her characteristic coloured-pencil style. So when McQ Alexander McQueen approached her to create a series of pieces around the launch of their collection of bags, a grunge-inspired series of totes, satchels and cross-bodies in slouchy black leather and tough silver hardware, aptly entitled Loveless, it made for an effortless collaboration.
“The character is a composite of everyone who ever went through heartbreak” – Marie Jacotey
“Fundamentally, I am very interested in relationships,” Jacotey explains of the female character in the new series, who is depicted surrounded by knickknacks and tainted souvenirs, lounging on the floor next to an overflowing ashtray, or curled up on her bed next to an open book entitled Love is a Dog From Hell. “She is a composite of everyone who ever went through heartbreak.” In each, her resolve forms a persistent undertone to her sadness – the text captions read ‘I swear I knew then it was the last time’, or ‘True, this went on for way too long, and I shouldn’t have led you on, but I’m only human after all’. “This girl is going through a tough break-up but we can feel how feisty she is; she’s got guts,” says Jacotey. “To me, the text captions reveal the strength and aggression that accompany her seemingly calm attitude.”
What’s more, this woman takes pride in her clothes, whether her outfit comprises tan brown, 1970s-inspired ankle boots, or a gingham two-piece teamed with corsetry, her bleached blonde hair tucked behind her ears. It makes sense, then, that the Loveless bag cast carelessly on the ground next to her becomes something of a totem of her strength – the result of a break-up shopping trip, perhaps. “Obviously I really like fashion and depicting clothing,” Jacotey continues. “Plus, these bags are really nice!”