Inside the Alexander McQueen Show at The MET

September 1, 2011
Breathtaking. Heartbreaking. Tragic.

These are just three words I’d use to describe Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibition that showed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this summer.

First, the Royal Wedding coup, and, now, with the astonishing success of this exhibition, I think it’s safe to say that Alexander McQueen rules both the high-fashion runway and the mainstream art world.

I spoke with one of the Met gallery staff, and he said that Savage Beauty is the most successful exhibit the museum has ever had. The museum had to beef up security, extend the show’s run by a week (it closed August 7), and even open the doors on Mondays, when the museum is normally closed, for people to check out the show.

The exhibit was gorgeous. It had an eerie feeling, but it was perfect. Instrumental music played to set the mood (the same music in the first video below) and there were plaques displaying information about each piece as well as quotes from McQueen.

It’s been almost a year since the designer’s suicide, and getting a glimpse into his mind and creative process was no easy task.

A few quotes that stuck with me?

“I want to empower women. I want people to fear the women I dress.”

“I oscillate between life and death, happiness and sadness, good and evil.”

“I’m about what goes through people’s minds, the stuff that people don’t want to admit or face up to. The shows are about what’s buried in people’s psyches.”

“It is important to look at death because it is part of life. It’s a sad thing, melancholic but romantic at the same time. it is the end of a cycle—everything has to end. The cycle of life is positive because it gives room for new things.”

It was obvious that McQueen lived a tortured and melancholic existence, and perhaps this is what drove his genius.

With his background in tailoring, every piece of clothing was like a work of art. They were all beautifully made with care and intensity, and have such a rich story and intent behind them. It was so tragic, yet incredibly beautiful.

I left the exhibit feeling like I needed to take a moment of silence. A true fashion talent was lost, but McQueen’s legacy remains to be shared.

In memoriam, here are some of my favourite McQueen runway moments:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cou04-vOZx8]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bCShCcD3N0]

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