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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

by habituallychic

05 . 03 . 11
I’ve never fancied myself an Alexander McQueen fan but after viewing the new Savage Beauty exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art honoring the late designer, I will be one for life. It is one of the best Costume Institute shows that I have ever seen.  Harold Koda and Andrew Bolton have not only assembled a gorgeous collection of clothing but have created a venue that perfectly complement their often eccentric designs. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind” was a Shakespeeare quote that Alexander McQueen had inked on his arm that was the inspiration for the show. Andrew Bolton explained that in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the line is said by Helena, someone who believed that love could transform something grotesque into something beautiful, a theme you see in much of McQueen’s work.
New York Times fashion critic commented after viewing the Alexander McQueen exhibit that “what I couldn’t get over was that he had done all this work by the time he was 40.”  It’s clear that his apprenticeships with Savile Row tailors and his education at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design served as an amazing training ground.  He is quoted in the show as saying, “I spent a lot of time learning how to construct clothes, which is important to do before you can deconstruct them.”
Alexander McQueen committed suicide right before New York fashion week in 2010 and there is haunting quality of death in much of his work and even the exhibition catalog cover. “The Victorian era greatly influenced me: the austerity, the severity, the melancholy,” he said. Many people at the preview were moved to tears and the show is a very moving tribute to this incredibly gifted designer.  His friend Stella McCartney who spoke at the preview said, “When you see the show, you remember all of them instantly. You’re surprised by the amount of incredible shows that he had.” We can only image what he might have done had he not left the world of fashion so early but Savage Beauty is wonderful tribute and definitely worth a visit.

Look who else was at the preview! It’s Bill Cunningham!

Photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic except #1 courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Comments Closed

  1. Lost in Provence May 3, 2011 | 5:45 pm

    Thank you, truly, from the bottom of my heart. I have always been profoundly moved by his work. His skill was unrivalled and met with dreams of bombastic proportions. When I lived on the outskirts of Paris, I would take the metro to Bon Marché just to see his pieces in person, to try and figure out what kind of woman they created. I am still in France and so will not get to see this exhibition. Your photos were a warm reminder of how much his work lives on.

  2. Ebony Looney May 3, 2011 | 6:17 pm

    This is one of the best posts I’ve perused regarding the McQueen exhibit. I might just visit NY to see it. Great pics.

  3. Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll May 3, 2011 | 7:07 pm

    Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing for those of us who can’t see it in person. Amazing. Truly amazing.

  4. Josje May 3, 2011 | 7:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. I wish I could see these pieces in person…

  5. mosaicology May 3, 2011 | 9:05 pm

    going through your post, i do see a …. “frightening” talent, he was ahead of his times while at the same time very able and gifted to imprison the trends that would follow, the trends of our age into his creations. he did describe himself in the best words anyone could do. romantic schizophrenic. masterpieces.

  6. Marcus Design May 4, 2011 | 1:04 am

    Wow, this man was truly an artist first, fashion designer second. These works are pieces of art.
    Nancy xo

  7. Renée Finberg May 4, 2011 | 2:32 am

    thank you for this great post.
    i would love to have gone too.

  8. vignette design May 4, 2011 | 2:51 am

    I’m so glad you visited and were able to photograph this exhibit. I was in NYC a month ago and wish I was there now, if only to see the work of Alexander McQueen. It’s so sad that he is gone from us. Truly a talented designer and inspiration. ~Delores

  9. Sam Flowers May 4, 2011 | 11:56 am

    Great photos of great fashion.

    Sigh – I probably can’t justify an Edinburgh to New York flight just to see it!

  10. jones May 4, 2011 | 4:10 pm

    Hi Heather, This is a superb post–I feel as if I were at the exhibition. His work has come alive for me: when I view it from the perspective of art is all of its various forms that spanned the 20th/21st centuries enlacing–I finally get it. Thanks immensely. Mary

  11. Inspiration May 5, 2011 | 1:32 am

    Stunning. Absolutely stunning.

  12. Slim Paley May 5, 2011 | 7:32 pm

    Lucky You!
    Can’t wait to see it up close & personal. On another note, finally saw the film “Bill Cunningham NY”- loved it and him!!