The Met Honors Alexander McQueen With “Savage Beauty”
I am not the most frequent museum goer, even though I live in a city known for having some of the best. But with an Alexander McQueen exhibit going on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, featuring 100 pieces from his collections as well as extravagant hats by Philip Treacy, I knew I needed to be there nice and early on opening day.
I’ve never been one to obsess over designer labels, especially when it comes to pieces that just aren’t special. But McQueen is, simply, a genius. Almost scientific in his details, he dissects garments and fabrics, innovatively weaving shocking items such as Impala horns into a jacket or crocodile heads onto the shoulders of a dress. His spontaneous, dark and intricate passion is palpable. “I’m a romantic schizophrenic,” McQueen said of himself.
The exhibit, which opens just over a year after McQueen committed suicide, choked me up (despite annoying tourists littered everywhere). The ambiance, born of moody music and dim lights, provided for a combination of eerie, sad and beautiful, all in one room. From his early collections dating back as far as 1992 to the Avatar-inspired spring/summer 2010 collection, McQueen never ceased to amaze the fashion world with his stunning costumes and ready-to-wear pieces. A pair of seamstresses standing by me at one point gawked at one of his magnificent pieces. One of them said “How on earth did he do this? There are no seams!”
The walls of the exhibit feature information about McQueen as well as quotes from the late great designer: “When you see a woman wearing McQueen, there’s a certain hardness to the clothes that makes her look powerful. It kind of fends people off.” McQueen certainly mastered blending extremely romantic feminine looks with shockingly edgy twists, such as the soft long cream lace dress on display with sharp antlers as a headpiece. There were times I was so close to something as beautiful as his dress made of real and silk flowers, that I just wanted to reach out and touch it. How unfortunate that pieces like this are now just a part of history.
The “Savage Beauty” exhibit is a heaven full of of feathers, flowers, painted leather, silk chiffon, organza, horse hair and so much more.
“I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or way of cutting, so that when I’m dead and gone people will know that the 21st century was started by Alexander McQueen” —Alexander McQueen (March 17th, 1969 – February 11th, 2010)
See highlights below, and please check the exhibit out if you are in New York City.
Images: News Week