by Jenn McNaughton
“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.” – Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)
On August 5, 2011, I ended my visit to New York City just in time to see the spectacular sighting of the Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (on until Aug 7). I was never big on museums growing up; usually sticking to art galleries and craft shows as my means of seeing others’ creativity. The McQueen Exhibit changed this thinking of mine; it made me realize the various ways and methods there are to showcasing ones artistic thought, and highly exceeded my expectations being held at a museum.
One security worker, Dan, said “I’m not into fashion or anything of that sort, but the man was a genius. It’s incredible – stay in line and wait, it’ll be worth it!”
When I arrived at the Museum of Modern Art during mid-morning hours, there was a half hour line up just to get into the Museum (not including to buy tickets, make a donation, and the proceed to the line up specifically for the McQueen Exhibit). On reaching the actual line up for the fashion exhibit, it was a three-hour wait. People everywhere – media, tourists, and other fashion guru’s like myself. Waiting patiently to see the most talked about Exhibit in the city, workers tried to keep our hopes up with positive comments. One security worker, Dan, said “I’m not into fashion or anything of that sort, but the man was a genius. It’s incredible; stay in line and wait, it’ll be worth it!”
Another hour and a half later we finally made it to the opening of the show. People were crowding every square inch of the room, as workers tried to cram in as many people as they could at a time. The museum exhibit held a total of 11 rooms altogether, with 7 of them dedicated to specific genres his work: The Romantic Mind, Romantic Gothic, Cabinet of Curiosities, Romantic Nationalism, Romantic Exoticism, Romantic Primitivism, and Romantic Naturalism.
Alexander McQueen couture gowns made of everything from flowers, horsehair, duck and ostrich feathers and shearling
The genre is evident as soon as you make your way towards the next room, with vivid, rich colours, and haunting music. The rooms were constructed with his latest works, from his post-graduate collection after graduating Central Saint Martins, to his final runway show which was shown and completed by the lovely Sara Burton, after McQueen’s death in early 2010. The open displays allow onlookers to get up close and personal with his work, and examine the high fashion tailoring, extensive detail, and unimaginable creativity that McQueen put into his work. Everything from his outstanding outfits, to his extravagant accessories were on display (about 100 garments and 70 accessories), as well as the hologram of Kate Moss which was originally featured in his Fall 2006 Collection.
The Costume Institute, the institution that put together the exhibit, did a spectacular job of capturing McQueen’s thoughts and feelings, and showcasing his talent through those ideas. It will be talked about and remembered forever, just like the amazing designer himself. Although we were not allowed to take any pictures inside the exhibit, if you go to the MET blog you can see specific designs of his that are featured inside. In the end, it was most definitely well worth the wait!
Savage Beauty, opened May 4, 2011, was originally supposed to end in July, however due to the mass of people wanting to get in still, they prolonged it another week, ending on August 7th. The last weekend the Exhibit was open, the Museum even extended its hours – staying open until midnight.