SAVAGE BEAUTY: McQueen Retrospective Opens at the Met
“Beauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting of places.” – Alexander McQueen.
And while I would never describe the iconic designer’s boundary-pushing fashions as ‘disgusting’, Alexander McQueen certainly new how to capture an emotional response with his dramatic and often controversial collections.
The late designer will get his due respects from the equally iconic Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute, whose retrospective of McQueen’s designs, entitled Savage Beauty, will open on May 2. The catalogue for the exhibit was recently unleashed and included, in addition to the numerous McQueen couture and footwear designs to be featured, an extensive interview with the late designer’s successor, in which she discusses the difficulties of moving the label forward after it’s namesakes untimely death.
One of Burton’s biggest challenges is finding things McQueen hadn’t already mastered: “He wanted to talk about the craftsmanship, about the old techniques that are being lost, and how people don’t do things with their hands anymore.”
And McQueen was well-known for being a master of handmade items (most pieces for his collection were handmade in London) for all of his drama-heavy runway shows.
“Every collection began with a show,” Burton adds, citing McQueen’s ability to design in complete looks, including hair, makeup and shoes. “Shoes were really important because they anchored the look. The ‘Armadillo’ shoe from spring 2010 ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ collection was based on a ballet point shoe designed by Allen Jones. They were actually quite comfortable to walk in, but if a girl couldn’t walk in them, she wasn’t in the show.”
“He really loved the shows. He used to say, ‘This is the last big one we’re doing,’ but he couldn’t help himself. So we have to imagine that Savage Beauty and it’s celebration into the mind of this creative genius would please him immensely.