In “It’s a Jungle Out There,” shown in February 1997 in London’s Borough Market, McQueen meditated on the theme of the Thomson’s gazelle and its terrible vulnerability to predators.
He used the idea of animal instincts in the natural world as metaphor for the dog-eats-dog nature of the urban jungle, staging the show against a forty-foot-high screen of corrugated iron drilled with imitation bullet holes and surrounded by wrecked cars, adding dry ice and crimson lighting for drama.
In a television interview he said: “The whole show feeling was about the Thompson’s gazelle. It’s a poor little critter – the markings are lovely. It’s got these dark eyes, the white and black with the tan markings on the side, the horns – but it is the food chain of Africa. As soon as it’s born it’s dead, I mean you’re lucky if it lasts a few months, and that’s how I see human life, in the same way. You know, we can all be discarded quite easily … you’re there, you’re gone, it’s a jungle out there!”
These were the characteristics of McQueen’s femme fatale, a figure who suggested the terrifying power of women rather than their soft vulnerability