21 July 2011

McQueen Exhibit Recap

So the McQueen exhibit was amazing (obviously, understatement of the year, etc., etc.).

It was definitely bordering on overwhelming; there was just SO MUCH to look at and take in at once! And I was a little star-struck thinking about how McQueen himself had his hands on these pieces, some of which went on to belong to the late, great Isabella Blow and now Daphne Guinness. I was secretly hoping that by being in such close proximity to these works of art I could somehow absorb some of the amazing creative energy these people had/have. Unfortunately, all of the energy was probably being blocked and/or sucked up by that anciently old lady with the stool who insisted on wiggling her way through the crowd and planting herself directly in front of me no matter where I stood.

But I digress.

I love the way the exhibition was presented. It wasn't displayed chronologically - pieces from his graduate collection were interspersed with looks from more recent collections, tartans that first appeared in his second collection ("Highland Rape" F/W 1995/6) were placed next to ones from his "Widows of Culloden" collection (F/W 2006/7). When you saw these pieces side by side, they looked as though they could have been sent down the runway within the same show. I love how he revisited certain themes and silhouettes throughout his career. It all felt so cohesive and perfect, like a complete body of work (albeit one that was tragically cut very, very short).

One of my favorite rooms was called the "Cabinet of Curiosities" which showcased jewelry and hats and headpieces in a floor-to-ceiling cubbyhole-style arrangement. The decor was dark and the music was creepy and the videos looping on the screens scattered around the room were bordering on disturbing. It was perfect.

I was also very excited to see the hologram of Kate Moss from the end of the "Widows of Culloden" show. Something about the combination of her angelic, flowy dress and the sad music that was playing was really haunting.

Another awesome surprise was a room set up as a re-enactment of the Spring 2001 show. I like Tavi Gevinson's description:

Alexander McQueen's presentation for Spring 2001 with Michelle Olley. The space was a mirrored cube so that everyone in the audience had to get uncomfortable staring at themselves for over an hour before the lights inside the cube went up and the walls around this box in the middle came down and Michelle Olley was sitting there, a fat woman in a fashion show, moths and butterflies and tubes clinging to her. The models couldn't see out of the cube and walked around disoriented while Olley was just lying there. I think it's my favorite McQueen show. At the exhibit at the Met right now they show the video in a box complete with a mirror, it's completely mesmerizing.

The light in the box went off, leaving us all suddenly startled and staring at our own reflections. I was totally stunned right up until the point where a girl next to me took that opportunity to frantically wave her hands in the air in an attempt to get the attention of a member of her party who was at the back of the crowd. Way to ruin the moment, bozo.

In short, it was incredible. I wish I could go bakc and see it again, but the exhibit closes on 7 Aug and so that's not going to happen. I'd also would have liked to have had a private viewing, but at least I didn't have to wait in line for hours to get in.*

And of course, I had to bring home some swag:

photo and video source

Side story: As we were waiting in the horrifically long line to get in, two very generous souls who also happened to have a membership to the MET randomly picked a few of us out of line to skip the queue entirely and walk straight into the exhibit. I wanted to kiss their feet.

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