Passing by The Metropolitan Museum of Art recently, I noticed an absence of a line of people waiting to get a glimpse of the late and great Alexander McQueen’s sought after work. This summer I was in that line. The MET was honoring the fashion designer Alexander McQueen in an exhibit called Savage Beauty. The exhibit seemed mythical to me with a somber undertone knowing that this was the last of its kind. It featured numerous McQueen’s pieces, ranging from delicate, floating dresses to meticulously well-tailored jackets to leather corsets and kimonos. Each gallery was carefully decorated to create a mood that fit the clothes. Mirrors, floor-to-ceiling shelves and colorful projections enhanced the galleries divided into themes: Romantic Naturalism, Romantic Primitivism, Romantic Exoticism, Romantic Nationalism, Romantic Gothic and Cabinet of Curiosities and, finally, The Romantic Mind.
McQueen’s career spanned almost two decades but the worlds he created through his clothing knew no bounds. He didn’t hesitate to let his imagination take him anywhere. And his sources of inspiration were endless; they stretched across thousands of years and spanned the globe. I loved seeing how he was inspired by some of history’s greatest and most fascinating women, including Catherine the Great, Marie Antoinette and even Joan of Arc. He was able to tap into these women’s strengths, allure and power and bring them to life through lavish fabrics, patterns and textures. In the end, he did more than just create clothes; he used them as a way to express his notions about art, culture, nature, and identity. And he had an exceptional perspective on the way in which clothes shape a woman. He didn’t want his clothes to make women look “naïve” In fact, he said, “I want to empower women.” He wanted women wearing his clothes to look powerful. He was just as inspired by nature as the opulence of history, royalty and tradition. I think that creativity that strives to bring the past into the present is most successful in creating adornments for the future.
Alexander McQueen, you inspire me to take my imagination anywhere and to know no bounds. Thank you.
Blog by Katrina Kelly