If you are planning a trip to New York City this summer and are even just remotely interested in fashion, check out the career retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in honor of the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who died in 2010 at the age of 40. https://inesarenas.com/
The exhibit is a celebration of his work, and features 100 ensembles and 70 accessories from collections spanning 19 years, showing the inspiration behind his elaborate shows, his imaginative approach to fashion, and the skill he exercised in constructing his provocative designer dresses and other creations. Ever unique and out of the ordinary, the retrospective explores McQueen’s vision, which was influenced by his own sensibilities. McQueen described himself as a romantic schizophrenic; someone who found beauty in the grotesque and who sought to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.
Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibition, told Reuters, “For McQueen, fashion wasn’t just about wearability or practicality; it was a vehicle to challenge our ideas, our concepts about fashion, to challenge our boundaries and challenge what we mean by beauty. He saw life very cinematically and I think that was reflected in his clothing.”
McQueen left school at 16 and went to work on Savile Row, where he apprenticed at some of the top tailors in London, learning construction, tailoring and pattern cutting. He kept moving up the design ladder and when he was 20, he went to Milan as Romeo Gigli’s design assistant. When he returned to London, he earned a master’s in fashion design from St. Martin’s. In 1992, the designer Isabella Blow bought his entire degree collection, which was entitled Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims.
From 1996 to 2001, he was chief fashion designer for the French couture house Givenchy. In 2000, his Alexander McQueen label was bought by the Gucci group and he served as the group’s creative director. At the time of his death in 2010, McQueen had flagship stores in New York, Milan, and London. His designs are distributed in some 40 countries.
The MOMA retrospective is divided into seven galleries, or themes, including the romantic mind, romantic gothic, romantic nationalism, and romantic naturalism.
Bolton told listeners, that he wanted the exhibition to unfold similarly to a fairy tale, a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. Additionally he said that McQueen was a romantic in the somewhat Byronic sense of the verb and in terms of designers who expand our interpretation of fashion, this expands our boundaries of fashion knowledge.