“Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at The Met

I’ve always been a fan of fashion. But I think I tended to look at runways from a commercial point of view. The trends on the runways flow over to mass market clothing. However, the runway clothes always left me wondering if those clothes were really wearable. After viewing “Savage Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I can now see and understand runway fashion as art.

The exhibit is off-limits to photography, but the exhibition’s website has enough of the sights and sounds to view the exhibition online. Many of the themes of the collections involved contrasts. The contrasts came through in design of clothing, texture of fabrics, and use of fabrics.

“The Girl Who Lived in the Tree” ensemble was part of the “Romantic Nationalism” gallery. The clothing was a reflection of McQueen’s Scottish heritage. “The Girl Who Lived in a Tree” was inspired by English royalty, with a lovely red satin coat. The “VOSS” ensemble was part of the “Romantic Exoticism” gallery, with Japanese kimono fabric and design representing the East in a game of chess against the West. The underdress was made of oyster shell (thick, reflective, and probably heavy) and the overdress was made of Japanese silk (light, matte, delicate).

The “Jellyfish” ensemble featured the “Armadillo” boots McQueen was known for during the last few years. The entire ensemble was made of iridescent panels and seem to glow. It looked like it belonged under water. The “Sarabande” dress was featured on the signs for the exhibition in the museum. The dress was embroidered with silk and fresh flowers. I think the original flowers were still on the dress because they looked dried.

The “Cabinet of Curiosities” gallery was very interesting. Various accessories and clothing were shown, with the corresponding runway show on screens above. It was then I realized that McQueen’s runway shows were about the artistic value of the clothes and the statement he was making through them. This show is a great opportunity to see fashion as art and see a collection as a whole. I believe the show takes high fashion out of selective places and gives it to the masses.


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