Monday, August 8, 2011

A Day with Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969-2010). Photography: The Metropolitan Museum of Art website.
"I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.”
—Alexander McQueen

'Savage Beauty' Alexander McQueen's extraordinary contributions to the fashion world.

I went during its final days, a weekday to be exact, believing i would avoid the bulk of the line as well as counting on the newly extended hours. I was lucky despite having to wait for two and a half hours as others, i later learned, waited for up to four hours with lines that went far outside the Met's building. That two hour + wait was monumental for me. I don't do lines. Allow me to digress and explain.

Once, during a visit to Disney World with a large group of friends Gilbert, a friend with the group suddenly suffered a "broken leg" (this is all quick thinking and honestly brilliant imagination). Gilbert removed his  right tennis shoes, doubled up on the socks as the rest of us scattered to help him stuff it with napkins. Other's ran off to Disney's customer center to fetch a wheel chair. Gilbert was now injured and out in Disney World with a group of his closest friends and of course... should not be waiting in line (wink wink). So yes, we skipped all of those Disney lines. My point here is that the lines for the McQueen exhibit was like waiting for a ride a Disney World. I replayed that Disney scene in my mind constantly as i shifted my legs from side to side hoping for sweet relief. But i knew better, something like that would never fly at the Met... and not with thousands of jaded new yorkers around.  Now back to McQueen.

The exhibit showcased six spectacular rooms of titillating fashion brilliance: The Romantic Mind, Romantic Gothic & Cabinet of Curiosity, Romantic Nationalism, Romantic Exoticism, Romantic Primitivism, and Romantic Naturalism.  It was difficult to maintain a clear head as you went through each gallery, mainly because you were being herded by the large crowd and it gave little to no time to really absorb the pieces. What i do remember feeling is that McQueen's creations defied the laws of the human body. His imagination was beyond anything i have ever seen. I was struck by each and every one of his costumes. His use of feathers, sea shells and other elements. The bold shapes and cuts. All very daring and complex. I particularly like the fitting quotes throughout the rooms that complemented the collection. 

The beauty of Alexander McQueen's collection is that you don't have to be a fashionista to be able to appreciate what he has created. The architecture of his work goes beyond boundaries and can be appreciated by the least fashion inclined. This is something that is likely to stay embeded in minds for a very long time. The thousands that go through these galleries viewing, admiring, and celebrating his work... truly epic.  And everyone once in a while you reminded with the reality of his death. The sensation was very poignant. A romantic tragedy.

If you were lucky enough to see and experience this exhibit then you can understand how hard-pressed for words i was in constructing this post. There really isn't the right amount of words. This is something that is and must be visually explained. 
"I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes. . . . That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers.”
—Alexander McQueen

If you were not able to make it, the Met offers this great eight minutes video tour. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could have seen this twice! I went to Dali at the museum here in Philly because I just didn't feel I got enough the first time through. Since I knew I couldn't go back twice to this I got the book and I love reading through it. His ability to manipulate clothing took so much skill and imagination I can't even try to fathom.

    The sad part about my visit were the few ignorant people who clearly didn't get it. The one chick kept turning to her friend (and us) and going, "who wears this? Starving models that's who! I don't get this!" We were able to get away from them luckily and enjoyed the rest of the exhibit.

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