Fashion’s an art, but it’s also a practical art. As an art form, it transcends physical boundaries and can carry a great socio-ideological meaning.
Alexander McQueen’s work is in town and I managed to find my way in around the hefty $50 admission charge. I even managed to snap a couple of pics with my cellphone.
No, these sample pictures are absolutely no substitute for the authentic experience, and I highly suggest that all of you go see it for yourself.
McQueen’s motley collection of designs inspires awe while packing a punch ideologically and viscerally. His work cannot be contained through cursory depiction or description.
His exhibits draw great inspiration from the Romantic movement (The exhibits are themed “Romantic Gothic,” “Romantic Nationalism,” “Romantic Primitivism,” and etc.)
Instead of thinking that mankind will eventually triumph over nature through science, Romantic thinkers accept the mysteriousness of existence, which in itself is a thing of beauty (called the “sublime”). Fictional characters born out of this movement are gifted, larger-than-life but tormented loners (like Faust and Hedda Gabbler). The more I ventured into the exhibits, the more I saw McQueen like a Romantic hero since his unique work is tinged by a deep contemplation of life, death, loyalty and sexuality. I saw a great embodiment of these themes in his “Romantic Gothic” gallery “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Don't mind me, just checking facebook....
One piece was made with a cape made of black parachute cloth, which was adorned by a mannequin standing akimbo. The cape billowed with the help of some floor-installed fans, giving the impression that the figure was standing atop a blustery peak, contemplating its insignificance in the belly of a terrifying yet beautiful cosmic order.
Compare with this.
I think my favorite section would have to be “Highland Rape,” or his “Romantic Nationalism” exhibit. All of his pieces were created in reaction against the wanton English adoption of Scottish fashion. McQueen was also tired of the general public’s preconceptions of Scotland, and sought to change that with his work.
Being born to Scottish parents and raised in London, he felt conflicted in his nationalistic identity. Though he loved the country of England, he cannot accept that it has committed vicious atrocities against Scotland and it is a belief that is visibly aired in the exhibit. Nothing like playing “God Save the Queen” and “Theme from Schindler’s List” to get the point across.
The exhibit is now free to all with a Met ticket and open until August 7th. Get out of your chair and go there. Right now.