Saturday, June 18, 2011

Are You a Savage Beauty?

When I first learned that The Metropolitan Museum of Art was hosting yet another exhibition showcasing a famous fashion designer, I was less than thrilled to check it out. However, I am glad that I did not hold back on visiting "Savage Beauty," a rare and eccentric collection of fashion and accessories from late designer Alexander McQueen. (If you do not know who he is, Google pictures of "Lady Gaga," and consider whether her outfit looks really outrageous. If it does, it's probably by McQueen.)*.

McQueen, who committed suicide last year, shortly before his 41st birthday, was a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry. He dared to be different and each item he designed was as much a work of art as it was something to wear. His designs were often provocative, dark, and, in his own words, had "an underlying sexuality" and "perverseness." He was and remains, even posthumously, highly controversial, and the reasons are clear as you make your way through the lengthy exhibit.

One of the first pieces of "art" you see as you enter the exhibit is a stunning dress made of red glass and feathers. (I must admit, at first glance I was reminded of Zoolander's Mugatu's "Derelicte" campaign...). Sound tame? As you continue along, don't miss the jacket on which the back is painted with Jesus on the Cross and, for a person of the right proportions, the wearer's body might line up with that of Jesus', and the wearer's outstretched arms would appear to be on the Cross as well. Moving on, you will come to the first room where the darkness of McQueen's designs really set in. An element of forbidden sexual desires emerges in designs that incorporate capes, masks, and black leather dominatrix-seeming outfits. As you wander through the many rooms of this exhibit, you will continue to come upon many bizarre, and some strangely beautiful, couture. In the accessories room, one of the mannequins wears a metal spine with a tail, while another wears a connected headband and armband made of metal thorns. It seems nothing was too shocking or too outrageous for McQueen.

Also make sure to be on the lookout for the use of varied media throughout the exhibit. One not-to-be-missed video involves a female model who walks out in an all-white dress, but is soon "attacked" by machines (robots of a sort, I think) that spew colors all over her, creating, in the end, a unique splatter pattern that could never be replicated.

"Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" is on display through August 7, 2011. Don't miss it! For more information, visit The Met's website or read the museum's press release on this exhibition.

UPDATE: Luxury rental management company, Glenwood NYC's Manhattan Living Blog recently featured the Savage Beauty exhibit and has some great pictures and more descriptions of what you can see here.


  1. It's good to see you back in print. I look forward to your provocative comments.I am almost tempted to see McQueen's fashions but the last fashion show I went to in Roslyn soured me.Can you put my picture on the followers wall? Love MOM

  2. We absolutely loved the Savage Beauty exhibit! We still can't believe that he's gone. We're planning a trip back before its closing. One of our favorites is also the spray painted dress! We must have watched the video at least 10 times in a row!

  3. It really was fantastic!

    @Glenwood NYC - I am going to link to your article up in the main body. It's great and I love the pictures!

    @Anonymous/Mom - Thanks for the feedback. To follow the blog, scroll to the left side where you see the pictures (icons) of followers. There should be a link that says "follow," which you can click.