Thursday, October 6, 2011

Artist Spotlight: The late, great Alexander McQueen

The Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a posthumous exhibition of Alexander McQueen's fashion designs dating from his first show all the way through the collection that walked the runway a month after his death in 2010.  The exhibition was called Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and ran from May 4th - August 7, 2011.  It was one of the museum's most popular exhibits in history.  There is a movement being led by McQueen's fans and colleagues, asking that the show travel around the country so that everyone can experience his work in person.

Alexander McQueen has always been one of my favorite designers- his clothes are beautiful, meticulous in their execution; almost to the point that the viewer could forget that the clothes were constructed out of medical slides and horse hair.   I love not only looking at his designs, but also trying to discern what they are made of.  He truly was a visionary- I don't think there is another designer that is able to combine art and fashion together as well as McQueen.  He considered movement, color, texture and especially the audience's emotional response in the execution of his work.

(All images are the official images from Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City)

Sarabande, spring/summer 2007
Nude silk organza embroidered with silk flowers and fresh flowers

Oyster” Dress 
 Irere, spring/summer 2003 
                                             Ivory silk organza, georgette, and chiffon


This dress, which is one of my absolute favorites, was inspired by the idea of a shipwreck.  Other pieces in the Irere collection were inspired by conquistadors, pirates and Amazonian Indians. 

The Horn of Plenty autumn/ winter 2009-10
Black duck feathers

“Jellyfish” Ensemble
Plato’s Atlantis, spring/summer 2010
Dress, leggings, and “Armadillo” boots embroidered with iridescent enamel paillettes

Voss-spring/ summer 2001
red and black ostrich feathers, glass medical slides painted red

                                           Widows of Culloden, autumn/winter 2006–7
                                               Cream silk tulle and lace with resin antlers

Eshu, autumn/winter 2000–2001
Yellow glass beads and brown horsehair

All of the pieces from the Eshu collection were inspired by the Yoruba people of West Africa.  I love this piece, because it looks as if the bodice is made of moss laying over the horse hair skirt, but in actuality, it is very ornate beading.

No. 13, spring/summer 1999
Corset of brown leather; skirt of cream silk lace; prosthetic legs of carved elm wood

Aimee Mullins walked the runway in this dress.  She is model who is also a double amputee.  Mcqueen had two prosthetic limbs ornately carved for her to wear down the runway. 
Aimee Mullins wearing the ornately carved legs

The Overlook autumn/ winter 2009-10

Shaun Leane, the jeweler who made this piece had to cast a concrete form of the model, form every coil perfectly to the cast.  The model when placed into the piece had to be screwed into it with tiny bolts. 

Eshu autumn/ winter 2000-01
Dress of beige leather; crinoline made of metal wire

Voss, spring/summer 2001
Razor-clam shells stripped and varnished

Widows of Culloden, autumn/winter 2006–7
Pheasant feathers

Sarabande, spring/
summer 2007

Cream silk satin and organza appliqu├ęd with black degrade silk lace and embroidered in clear beads and sequins

Alexander McQueen always surprised his audience with his thought-provoking runway shows.  I could sit for hours and still not understand how he was able to create such tailored and immaculate clothing using such unconventional materials.  

I would have loved to have seen this exhibition in person, but I guess, I will have to keep my fingers crossed that the show will be traveling soon.   

(All images are the official images from Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City)

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