First I want to say, I have so much respect for Sarah Burton for filling Alexander McQueen’s shoes after he died. It could have ruined her name and reputation in fashion had she failed, but she didn’t. The house Alexander McQueen is still at the top of the fashion industry…Sarah Burton was named one of the 100 most influential people in Time Magazine on April 2012 and was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the British fashion industry. Chapeau!!
In 2011 the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a posthumous exhibition of McQueen’s work titled Savage Beauty. The exhibition’s elaborate staging included unique architectural finishes and soundtracks for each room. Despite being open for only three months, it was one of the most popular exhibitions in the museum’s history.
I flew to New York in May 2011, just to visit the exhibition and it was the best money I’ve ever spent on fashion! I left my hotel early, hoping to avoid the crowd which stood in line every day, but no such luck. As soon as I reached the floor were the exhibition was to be found, I saw a huge amount of people patiently waiting behind a fence. I joined the line and it must have taken an hour and a half before it was my turn to enter.
Inside it was so crowded you could only shuffle slowly from one item to the other, but because it was so dark inside and the music directed me into a certain mood, it felt like I was on my own in Alexander McQueen’s amazing world. I was impressed by the outstanding craftmanship each piece showed. I knew already McQueen was a fantastic craftsmen, but seeing the clothes so nearby I noticed he was even much better I’d ever realised.
Alexander McQueen didn’t start a new design with the silhouette of the front (or back), he started his designs with a silhouette ‘en profile’ (from the side). He first decided on the theme for a show, before beginning to design the collection. His education included an apprenticeship at the Saville Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard where he learned all about impeccable tailoring, later he joined theatrical costumiers Angels and Bermans, where he learned all about pattern cutting. Next to being a creative wonder these skills helped to make him into one of the best fashion designers ever, he know exactly what a seam or a cut could accomplice in a garment.
The fantastic craftmanship he owned, he also looked for in the people he collaborated with and that’s what made the exhibition so incredible: not only the explosion of creativity in all designs, but also the perfectionism in the finish of them. Being an admirer of craftmanship, Savage Beauty was Walhalla.
The photographs for the catalogue are taken by fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø
There has been rumor of the exhibition going to London, but so far it hasn’t happened.
The catalogue of the exhibition is a piece of art by itself, with a hologram picture of Alexander McQueen’s face turning into the picture of a skull. At the museum shop you could also buy a miniature replica of the famous Armadillo shoe by McQueen. You can order the catalogue/book at the Metropolitan Museum shop or at www.amazon.com
After Kate Moss was pilloried by the public and the fashion world (for using cocaine), Alexander McQueen proved to be true friend and honoured her by showing an amazing moving hologram of her at the end of his fall/winter runway show 2006. To me the entire affair seemed so hypocritical, knowing how many people do the same thing (every day), also some of the people who were eager to judge her!
If you want to see or read more about the exhibition, visit http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/