Alexander McQueen, The Horn of Plenty AW 2009-10 Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
He always had to think of a story first, and after he had the story and the vision of the show clear in his head, the collection would come…quick and fast!
– Sarah Burton, Creative Director for Alexander McQueen
It’s the story that always bewitched us. The overwhelming emotion threaded through artistry… the poetic magic that Alexander McQueen cast upon his collections, transporting us to faraway fantasy worlds — from Plato’s Atlantis to a life-sized chessboard — we joined him in his 600-year-old elm tree and stalked his family history back to the Salem witch hunts as well as his Scottish family roots. He always knew how to shock and delight us. Dreams were cast in these extremes; and savage beauty was discovered in his gilded parade of new silhouettes, innovation and fearlessness. “With someone like Lee,” said Sarah Burton during an interview with Bergdorf Goodman editor Glenn O’Brien and the Costume Institute’s Andrew Bolton, “everything is guts, everything comes from him inside. It was completely personal, how he was feeling at the time, what things he loved or hated. It’s very autobiographical.”
Images courtesy Alexander McQueen
This week we join the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to honor the extraordinary career of Alexander McQueen. Complementing the museum’s retrospective, our Fifth Avenue windows feature the House of McQueen’s archival looks amid a theatrical world that intends to match the spirit of a designer who dazzled us with intrigue and playfulness. Every nuance and every touch is an salute to a designer who startled the fashion world with his post-graduate collection in 1992. Each look was fiercely studied — from the story that McQueen originally wove to the tips of the model’s fingernails. There are the slithering snakes of Plato’s Atlantis, feathered Cirque creatures and a Sarabande homage cast in hand-dripped molten wax. There are sugary frothy dresses in pale pinks and grays. A mirrored room with stacked screens becomes an tribute to the designer’s final show, Plato’s Atlantis. “Since I can remember,” said artist Douglas Little (while cautiously dripping hot wax onto an oversized antler in one of our Fifth Avenue windows), “Alexander McQueen has been a huge source of inspiration. He really helped pioneer this macabre aesthetic that so many of us now embrace.” And it this sense of refined chaos that we hope to channel and honor in our Fifth Avenue Windows. Hope to see you soon.
Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty will run through the end of July For more details, visit MetMuseum.org
Join the House of Alexander McQueen backstage for their Fall 2011 Show: