Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Savage Beauty

I took the day off today--well, almost. I read the necessary chapters in a not-great book that I just had to deal with to cover my bases. But the rest of the day was devoted to exercise, acupuncture and, for most of the afternoon, standing in line at the Met with Evelyn and Amy and then visiting the Alexander McQueen exhibit.

I've been a member of the Met and I have to say, I've never seen it so busy. I've been avoiding going at weekends and figured that Tuesday afternoon would be safe. But I was wrong. While the wait was listed at 2 1/2 hours (which seemed to be a standard sign) it was a little over 70 minutes, which was fine as I had good company and enjoyed the artwork the line snaked by (including my favourite Joan of Arc painting).

The exhibit itself was majestic. Not only were the gowns, jackets, hats, shoes, jewelry, suiting, dresses, etc. sublime, but it was masterfully curated. Different rooms were lit differently, had their own music, and were constructed in different materials to set different moods. Videos from shows played (both videos of the shows and the short films played at shows). Three dresses from his Voss collection were shown in a glass box that replicated the original show that the models couldn't see out of and the audience sometimes couldn't see into--just viewing their reflection, not the clothes (all depended on the light).

But the beauty of the clothes and the level of the work was what stunned me the most. I was lucky and could see them upfront (mostly that is--the elm prosthetic legs for Aimee Mullins seemed to evoke the most curiosity--it was only when I looked at the fabulous exhibit website that I worked out what was causing such a sensation as I couldn't get near them). I can't do the clothes justice here but the creativity, imagination, combination of techniques, the detail, the colours, materials (metals, mud, shells, balsa wood as well as more conventional fabrications), the craftsmanship, imagination, play with themes, intellectualism and artistry were stunning. The themes for collections and their staging were incredible and took fashion to a new dimension. I'd always heard about his stunning tailoring (which was on display, along with pieces from his student collection which were immaculate), but the historical references, variety of techniques and the play with form made this fine art. I was sad when McQueen died and knew a fashion genius had gone but I had no idea until I saw the exhibit that he was working at this level, and that he was so prolific and imaginative. It was the first time I saw couture gowns so close up (some of the pieces were from his Givenchy collections) and his runway work was at that level too.

Here, from said website, are a few of my favourites, although its tough to choose which ones were the best. And some of the pieces I loved aren't photographed online.

1 comment:

jennifer said...

i was in new york for a day last weekend and intended to go to this exhibit, but we ended up not having enough time. i'm so upset that i missed it!