Wednesday, August 10, 2011


After a successful run, “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” has closed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibit featured the work of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who committed suicide last year. The exhibit highlighted the Victorian romance and dark melancholy (Dark Romanticism) that inspired the designer’s work. McQueen proudly professed that he had found beauty in the grotesque, which is one quality of the Dark Romanticism. It was set to run until July 31, but the organizers had extended the show by a week to accommodate record crowds.

With about 100 ensembles and 70 accessories from collections spanning 19 years, the Costume Institute exhibition “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” reveals the inspiration behind his elaborate shows, his imaginative approach to fashion and the technical ingenuity and masterful constructions of his provocative creations.

“From opening on May 4, we have had more than 625,000 visitors,” museum press officer Nancy Chilton said, adding that the show had already seen the highest attendance of any exhibition staged by the Met’s Costume Institute. “It is among the Museum's top 20 blockbusters.”

Here are some more pictures of the exhibit.
Above: "Romantic Gothic and the Cabinet of Curiosities."
“For McQueen, fashion wasn’t just about wearability or practicality it was a vehicle to challenge our ideas, our concepts about fashion, to challenge our boundaries and challenge what we mean by beauty,” said Andrew Bolton, the curator of the exhibition that opens on Wednesday and runs through July 31. “He saw life very cinematically and I think that was reflected in his clothing.”
"Romantic Primitivism."

"Jellyfish" Ensemble, Plato's Atlantis, spring/summer 2010.

“I wanted the exhibition to unfold like a fairy tale, a Brothers Grimm fairly team. McQueen was deeply romantic in the Byronic sense of the word,” said Bolton, who added McQueen’s shows suggested avant-garde installation and performance art.

McQueen’s interest in history, patriotism and nationalism are featured in his works and shows, which each tell a story.

Left: "Oyster" Dress, Irere, spring/summer 2003. Right: Sarabande, spring/summer 2007.  The Oyster dress is made from hundreds and hundreds of layers of silk organza. In the audio voiceover, Sarah Burton explains the how the ivory chiffon is frayed and shredded to give the disheveled look  that McQueen envisioned. The dress on the right is embroidered with real fresh flowers. In the words of McQueen, "I used flowers because they die. My mood was darkly romantic at the time."

“In terms of designers who stretch our understanding of fashion and expand the boundaries of fashion, I do think McQueen was unique,” said Bolton.

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