The exhibition; Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York today, celebrating the late Alexander McQueen and his exceptional contributions to the fashion world.
The exhibition aptly named Savage Beauty perfectly personifies the stark contrasts seen in McQueen's work, the signature polarized opposites we became familiar with throughout his career, whether it was man or machine, light or dark, life or death. The exhibitions described by some as insanely beautiful and profoundly moving showcases approximately one hundred ensembles and seventy accessories from McQueen's nineteen year copious career.
The exhibition which has been organized by The Costume Institute and runs from May 4th to July 31st 2011 and gives us an insight into the creative mind of a genius who was distinctly consumed by passion, beauty, darkness and drama. His runway shows and fashion editorials were known to astound and electrify but having the opportunity to see his works in person will allow you to understand how one can feel utterly captivated by the ethereal poise of a garment and still be totally disgusted by it too - that was McQueens gift, his ability to bring together two opposing worlds.
There are six galleries in total which are organised thematically and chronologically, with the first gallery including pieces from his graduation collection; Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, 1992 and the last features ensembles from Plato’s Atlantis, Spring/Summer 2010, his final collection.
One particular gallery showcases mannequins on revolving platforms, another focuses on his Scottish themed collection; Highland Rape, Autumn/Winter 1995-96. We have the pleasure of seeing up close pieces from his time at Givenchy, as well as a miniature version of the Kate Moss hologram from his Autumn/Winter 2006-07 Widows of Culloden show.
We have the opportunity to peruse one gallery, completely devoted to the shoes, hats, jewelry, and body pieces that McQueen had produced and commissioned to complement his clothes including particular head wear by Philip Treacy and Shaun Leane’s metal works.
Images courtesy of The Costume Institute
The Romantic Mind - "You've got to know the rules to break them. That is what I am here for, to demilish the rules but keep the tradition."
Romantic Gothic and Cabinet of Curiosities -"People find my things sometimes aggressive. But I don’t see it as aggressive. I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality.”
Romantic Nationalism -“The reason I’m patriotic about Scotland is because I think it’s been dealt a really hard hand. It’s marketed the world over as .. haggis.. bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it.”
Romantic Exoticism - “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."
Romantic Primitivism-“I try to push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking of how we look. What I do is look at ancient African tribes, and the way they dress. The rituals of how they dress. . . . There’s a lot of tribalism in the collections."
Romantic Naturalism - “I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that."
- Alexander McQueen
This exhibit is overwhelming, beautiful and haunting and proves that McQueen not only blurred the boundaries between fashion and art, but also that beauty should always be valued.