I have been meaning to write about the Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Met every since I got back from New York a couple weeks ago. The problem is, I have been getting ready for this show and moving into this new studio space. The clincher was that I haven't had a good connection to the internet at the space yet, so everything was pushed back. Enough excuses.
"Ugly Beautiful" says Sarah Jessica Parker. I would say "Awful" in the true sense of the word. It was awe-inspiring. The hours of meticulous craftsmanship. The abundance, color and softness which filled his spring collections and the sharp, abrasive, horrors of his fall collections. His runway shows weren't just artsy-fartsy pageants, but emotionally-charged performances. He was able to get the supermodels to act, dance, and convey his message with more talent than I think anyone knew they possessed. He brought everyone to a new level.
The other artists that he worked with, Phillip Treacy among others, commented on how he was always very specific about what he wanted. He didn't collaborate for a free ride on ideas. What ideas! The dressed encrustes with live flowers and headpieces of swarming red butterflies triggered a memory of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, when she is walking in a field in spring and butterflies, pollen and flowers are becoming trapped in her skirts. The idea of using carved and painted wood to create American football shoulder-pads and chest plates connected so many ideas--of Samauri, and who occupies the "warrior class" in our society now. A vision of the future where humans adapt to life underwater.
I don't think that Alexander McQueen had anything to do with fashion, or "haute couture," he hated it. He hated fashion. It was just where he ended up, at age 16, working in a tailor's shop (a famous one) trying to help his parents put bread on the table for 6 kids. His work exists as sculptures, and each collection was a trip to the sublime.