Friday 6 May 2011

Alexander the Great

Savage Beauty {Part 11} :: celebrating the late Lee Alexander McQueen’s extraordinary contribution to fashion. For McQueen fashion was an art form, and his runway shows were theatrical productions.

“What I realize that he created a world for himself where he could do anything he wanted to do, with no constraints.” Sarah Burton, Creative Director of Alexander McQueen

Shocking, visionary, artist, fashion designer, impeccable tailor

~ Alexander McQueen is honoured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute in an exhibition that recognises the iconic work of the late British designer and courtier. The exhibition recognises the iconic work of the late British designer and courtier Lee Alexander McQueen, known for the strong, sensual, provocative, technically complicated and beautifully crafted designs of his 19-year career.

Alexander McQueen was best known for his astonishing and extravagant runway presentations, which were given dramatic scenarios and narrative structures that suggested avant-garde installation and performance,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator of The Costume Institute. “His fashions were an outlet for his emotions, an expression of the deepest, often darkest, aspects of his imagination. He was a true romantic in the Byronic sense of the word – he channeled the sublime.”

An elegant tribute to the Scottish Highlands of his ancestry ~ jeweled gowns, billowing velvet capes and gorgeous tartans.

Dress, Sarabande, spring/summer 2007
“Remember Sam Taylor-Wood’s dying fruit? Things rot…I used flowers because they die. My mood was darkly romantic at the time.” Lee Alexander McQueen

At the time of the show, the dress was covered in fresh flowers ~ “We put them on just before [the model] went out, and they started to fall off one by one as she walked. I remember people saying Lee timed it. We had a laugh about that. It was an accident!” Sarah Burton

Ensemble, Dante, autumn/winter 1996–97

The Costume Institute’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is insanely beautiful, intensely dramatic, and — most importantly — profoundly moving.  Spanning from McQueen’s Central Saint Martins graduation collection to his posthumous autumn/winter 2010-11 show, the exhibit celebrates an extraordinary and prolific career cut tragically short. VOGUERISTA

Approximately 100 ensembles and 70 accessories are on display including some of his signature designs such as the bumster trouser, kimono jacket and the origami frock. The seven galleries within the exhibition explore the recurring themes of his work:

“The Romantic Mind, Romantic Gothic, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Romantic Nationalism, Romantic Exoticism, Romantic Primitivism, and Romantic Naturalism.”

The opening room shows early works that emphasise his impeccable hand at tailoring, learned during his time apprenticing on Savile Row, and moves into the opulent, provocative works.

‘Dante’, ‘Banshee’, ‘Highland Rape’, ‘The Widows of Culloden’, ‘Horn of Plenty’ – pieces from all those collections which were staged and presented as performance art and techno-theatre, first in London, then in New York, then Paris. A 40ft oak tree, representing McQueen’s relationship with the forces of nature, stands in the foyer of the Met, recalling another collection, ‘The Girl Who Lived in The Tree’; a theme which has been carried through in the use of heather and boxwood hedging, by Raul Avila, with Gainsbury and Bennett. Hilary Alexander

The “Cabinet of Curiosities” includes various atavistic and fetishized objects such as woodcock wings, rubber, copper and quills, often produced with milliner Philip Treacy and jeweler Shaun Leane, longtime collaborators of McQueen’s: ~ a flurry of butterflies from Philip Treacy, Samurai armor inspired headpieces, sculpted shoes in the shape of a mutated spine.  A glass case encloses the hologram of Kate Moss, realised by Baillie Walsh for the autumn/winter 2006 collection. Also included is the infamous trapeze-like dress worn by Shalom Harlow for the Spring 1999 show.  She was spun around mechanically on the runway and spray painted with robotic nozzles.

Dress, No. 13, spring/summer 1999
“[The finale of this collection] was inspired by an installation by artist Rebecca Horn of two shotguns firing blood-red paint at each other.” Lee Alexander McQueen

    The fashion Oscars

    Alexander McQueenSavage Beauty” was launched at the annual Costume Institute Benefit Gala, known as the Met Ball. This fundraising event is The Costume Institute’s main source of annual funding for exhibitions, acquisitions, and capital improvements. Numerous celebrities walked the red carpet.  The gala evening was hosted by  Honorary Chairs Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of PPR, which owns the McQueen brand, and his wife, Salma Hayek, with Colin Firth, Stella McCartney and Anna Wintour as co-chairs.


    The exhibition is organized by Andrew Bolton, curator, with the support of Harold Koda, curator in charge, both of the Met’s Costume Institute. Sam Gainsbury and Joseph Bennett, the production designers for Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows, serve as the exhibition’s creative director and production designer, respectively. Sam Gainsbury’s company Gainsbury & Whiting was responsible for the ground-breaking, sense shattering runway shows McQueen staged over the years. All head treatments and masks are designed by Guido Palau.

    Photography by Sølve Sundsbø, who shot ensembles from the McQueen archive on live models, then retouched the images to make them look like mannequins, courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


    {Images via iiiinspiredmad alice style}


    Tagged with , and
    Posted in Carousel with
    No Comments »


    Leave a Reply