Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Yesterday I went to the press preview for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Met. WOWZA! The drama was mind-blowing. The best words are McQueen's own on the walls throughout.“There is no way back for me now. I am going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.” "I’m a romantic schizophrenic"
Costume Institute curator Anthony Boltan, reminded us of McQueen's favorite Shakespeare quote from Midsummer's Night Dream,
"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind..." Sarah Burton (Creative Director at McQueen and designer of Kate's wedding dress) told of 'Lee' coming in Monday morning with a pile of mussel shells he'd picked up on the beach on Sunday...
And making a shell bustier on the spot.
McQueen (of Scottish descent) created a 'Rape of Scotland' collection to express his political anger at England. He often showed up at events in tartan kilts.
There are McQueen tartan items in the gift shop. You don't have to be Scottish to wear them.
Stella McCartney studied with McQueen at St. Martins, on Savile Row. When they arrived together in Paris early days, Lee said,
"Come on Stell, let's start my empire!"
The idea of the sublime. An unfettered emotionalism-Primitivism -Naturalism-Exoticism
A not-to-be-missed exhibition at the Met
May 4 - July 31
McQueen's last Spring 2010 collection of digitally printed organic forms and patterns.
"It was an...unmissable formula...McQueen's message throughout was essentially sunk into the short dress—a steady development of his engineered sea-reptile prints, worked into a nipped-waist, belled-skirt silhouette. The colors—first green and brown, moving to aqua and blue—were exceptionally executed, swagged, and molded across panniered structures. Each dress was a work of computer-generated art crossbred with McQueen's couture-based signature cut." The Guardian
The catalog, Savage Beauty is just as sumptuous.

A McQueen acolyte arrives appropriately outfitted.


  1. Carol, what a FABULOUS post. Great shots! A beautiful tribute to the late great designer.

  2. Wow, this is absolutely incredible! Oh, I wish that I could get to the exhibit, but alas, I don't think it's possible...
    I love the butterfly headpiece and all the Scottish bits... also the ballet/gladiator shoes


  3. Thank you Jilly.
    So many pictures!
    So hard to choose!!

  4. WOWZA indeed! I am still soaking it in. Merci.

  5. You are reading my mind! I made my exhibition list this AM for the Met and this was on it along with the Serra exhibition,the two photography exhibitions and the roof sculpture. I knew you would be posting on this, its quite incredible.

  6. Those tie-up-the-leg ballerina pink shoes!!!!! I'm always on the lookout for shoes that look beautiful AND stay on my feet for playing the harp - there's nothing worse than having your shoe fly off when you're changing pedals during the bride's processional!

  7. Wow! I loved his work. These are so dramatic and creative. That mussel-shell piece is incredible, and love those tartan clutches.

  8. there's nothing worse than having your shoe fly off

    Especially Amy, when it hits one of the audience in the face!


  9. Fantastic, thank you, Carol, for sharing these gorgeous images with us! What an artist, how sad he has left us so prematurely. What a loss!

  10. Fantastic group of photos!!!! So sad that he's gone!

  11. how thrilling this is. They say art begins fashion, it sure is true with Mr. McQueen....

  12. Thank you so much for posting the pictures this morning for the Alexander McQueen show - amazing!

  13. Absolutely awesome clothing designs! That's the kind of clothes we need to be wearing. Well, not dresses, since I'm a guy, but definitely the style.

  14. Anonymous1:00 PM

    This is the closest I'll ever make it to seeing this exhibit, so, thank you for sharing it with us. It's all beautiful.

  15. great coverage of the exhibit!
    As an art history major I find his works really are like art, engaging and at times challenging but always provocative and inspiring.
    Great post!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  16. That's an amazing show! I will see it by the end of May! Perfect pics, too...

  17. Lovely post, I continue to miss Alexander McQueen..

  18. Your photos are astonishing!
    The lighting on the clothes is just amazing - the light really sets off the displays - makes them jump out.
    Great job!

  19. Carol, I saw this show today, and as I went up the Met's escalator to the exhibit's floor, I was saying a little prayer that the exhibit would be as good as it really could be.

    And it was! The crowding of the folks around me did get in the way of my being able to see as much as I wished. Well...just got to return as many times as possible.

    The vision, the expert tailoring details, the decorative embellishing, the colors, the materials, the inspirations from nature. The exhibit itself, with its lighting, display cases, music...that kinky accessories room really stopped the folks in their tracks today.

    The Kate Moss hologram could be viewed many times, and then it's grand to see that feathery dress just across the darkened room.

    Just wish that Mr Mcqueen himself could have been amongst the multitudes at the Met today, seeing how we loved the opportunity to appreciate his creativity.

    The matching of the tartans in their bias seaming. The wooden planked walls, that line drawing blown up to wallpaper scale. The shoes, the hats, the masks, the feathers, the metal, the water. Well, there's lots to see.

    Are you planning on seeing the show again? xo


  20. Thank you for such a wonderful post. I do hope my schedule works out so I can get to NYC this summer to see it. Well done...I'm sharing your post on my Facebook page.


  21. I'm finally over here on Wed. morning & so glad. I adored McQueen & these shots are superb, Carol. Excellent - the best post I've seen on him or the exhibit. At all. Brava.

  22. OMG. Carol, this looked amazing. I have to get myself one of these Scottish tartan dresses. Sure beats a normal kilt. You have certainly captured the drama of it all.

  23. This is an INCREDIBLE book. I love the transforming cover! Based on the upcoming exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the book includes statuesque models painted white like mannequins adorned in Mcqeen's designs.


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