Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty


Back in early June, I met up with my aunt and cousin in the city to see the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I snapped some photos of the 82nd street entrance on my way in. Photos from inside the exhibit courtesy of the MET's website.  

Above: "Romantic Gothic and the Cabinet of Curiosities." 

The exhibit is divided into several rooms showcasing McQueen's extraordinary contributions to fashion. It starts with his postgraduate collection at Central St. Martins in 1992, includes his work at Givenchy, and ends with his final collection for the namesake brand in 2010. The exhibit also displays hats and headpieces crafted by Phillip Treacy, and corsets and jewelry by Shaun Leane for McQueen's collections. There are monitors above the display streaming videos from his most famous runway shows, such as the hologram of Kate Moss which closed his Fall/Winter show in 2006. In addition to the monitors is an audio guide with voiceovers by Sarah Burton and several of McQueen's friends and colleagues. 

Below: "Romantic Primitivism."

Walking right up to the gowns in person was a truly breathtaking experience. 
  Left: "Oyster" Dress, Irere, spring/summer 2003. Right: Sarabande, spring/summer 2007
The Oyster dress is made from hundreds and hundreds of layers of silk organza. In the audio voiceover, Sarah Burton explains the how the ivory chiffon is frayed and shredded to give the disheveled look  that McQueen envisioned. The dress on the right is embroidered with real fresh flowers. In the words of McQueen, "I used flowers because they die. My mood was darkly romantic at the time."

"Jellyfish" Ensemble, Plato's Atlantis, spring/summer 2010

This was a stand out piece for me. It's embroidered with iridescent enamel paillettes from head to toe. I love the way the light reflects this piece. It gives a glowing effect that's really beautiful. I love how McQueen could take anything, like a jellyfish, politics, or a shipwreck, and turn it into fashion. He really pushed the boundaries with silhouettes and materials; like his "bumster" pant which revealed the end of a woman's spine, or his dress made from varnished razor-clam shells. In my opinion, he was a creative genius. His death was such a great loss to the fashion industry, but I think it's safe to say his legacy will live on forever. 

 I returned to the MET again the following week to participate in a teen program called Alexander McQueen: Celebrate and Create. The event consisted of a seminar on McQueen, followed by an arts and crafts session to make a piece of "wearable art" inspired by the designer. I wore my skull printed scarf with a striped tank top, vintage cut offs, and a black blazer. 

Gap blazer, American Apparel tank, Vintage Levi cutoffs from LF stores, Aldo bag, scarf from LF stores

The first part of the event was a seminar led by guest speakers (drumroll, please) Tavi Gevinson of the blog Style Rookie, and Shannon Bell Price who works in the Costume Institute and helped curate the exhibit. The discussion touched on several topics, like McQueen's aesthetic, his influence on fashion and culture, and how the exhibit was put together.


At the end of the seminar, they opened the discussion up for questions. I asked Tavi if she has a favorite piece from the exhibit, and if so, why is it her favorite. Obviously it's hard to pick just one, but she chose the butterfly hat made by Phillip Treacy for Alexander McQueen. She said one of her journals has a picture of it on the front, so seeing it in person was really special. I was completely in awe of the hat when I saw it inside the exhibit. It looks like a swarm of real butterflies, but it's actually feathers that Treacy hand painted with a butterfly design. 


So when it was time to make my own piece of "wearable art," I turned to the butterfly hat for inspiration. It ended up being more of a bird hat than a butterfly hat, but I think it has the same spirit as the McQueen. First, I used black colored paper to construct a miniature top hat. Then I stuffed lots of feathers in the front and put longer ones on the side to imitate the fluttery movement of butterflies. I also had the above dress from McQueen's spring/summer 2001 collection in mind. It was the first dress I saw upon entering the exhibit. Its feathers are more birdlike, which inspired me to add two little cardinal birds to the front of my hat. The bodice of the dress is made of glass microscope slides tinted red, so I put red gems on the top of my hat to get the same shine.  

Yeah, I'm no Phillip Treacy, but I think it's a pretty cute hat!      

53 comments:

  1. That must have been so much fun! Plus you met TAVI! I am insanely jealous!!! I also love your little hat, it's adorable!
    -Katherine
    http://community.tasteofhome.com/community_forums/f/30/t/804211.aspx

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  2. hahaha what a cute little hat!
    i looooved the exhibit.. went to it three times, in fact with different friends!

    couturelust.com

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  3. That hat is so cute.

    Thanks for your lovely comment and coming to visit. I'll surely be back for some more creative inspiration!

    x Kel

    www.amuseabout.com

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  4. I always love alexander mcqueen. His work is remarkable and his creativity is just beyond limits. It's sad that he's not here anymore.

    Wow you met TAVI !!! that's so cool
    and the headpiece you made looks awesome :)
    great job :D


    http://the-sweetmoment.blogspot.com/
    http://fall-e-n.blogspot.com

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  5. Wow looks like you had a wonderful time! I'm going to see the McQueen exhibit on its very last day open. Now I can't wait :)

    pinkbeautybliss.com

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  6. To see this exhibit would be amazing! The shoes alone...wow.

    Check out my blog some time at http://stylelustpages.com!

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  7. iam a huge fan of alex mcqueen. great photos ! :)

    cheers,
    Joie de Vivre

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  8. What I wouldn't give to zip over to NYC to see that amazing show. Thanks for sharing your photos, especially the jellyfish ensemble. In other news I am now coveting your skull scarf.

    Lindsay Living

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  9. Yes, the hat - super!))) Congratulations! Alexander McQueen will always be in fashion history! He - the legend! Thank you very much for your comment!


    http://milana2078.blogspot.com/

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  10. Livy photos and sounds like a great time! Oddly enough I had some friends who weren't fond of the exhibit, but looking at your pictures I can't tell why. It looks awesome! And your headband is so cute! Glad you checked it out and dispelled the rumors for me!

    www.theinternetgarbage.com

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  11. I love your blog! I really like your style. I follow you on bloglovin ;) xx

    http://balletme.blogspot.com/

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  12. Ravenna Moreira7/13/2011

    WOW!! L O V E L Y POST!!! GREAT BLOG!!! :D
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT!

    www.pulsacoesplanetarias.blogspot.com
    www.pulsacoesplanetarias.blogspot.com
    www.pulsacoesplanetarias.blogspot.com
    www.pulsacoesplanetarias.blogspot.com

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  13. Great post! Would have loved to have seen the exhibition!

    www.darkbluestripes.com

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  14. Wow!!!
    Amazing exhibition!
    I will be in NYC the next month... I want to see it!!!
    Lovely!

    Kisses,
    Titti

    http://dellaclasseedialtremusiche.blogspot.com/

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  15. It looks like you had a great time; the exhibit looks really cool!<3
    -Tori
    fashiontrendsmore.blogspot.com

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  16. this is awesome! i would love to be able to do this

    http://styleaccordingtome.blogspot.com

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  17. Great experience! I'm sure that you really enjoyed :)
    I'm happy for you.

    Have a great day!
    See you.

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  18. Love these photos, you are so lucky to of been able to see this. I have the book butI doubt it even lives up to the real thing.

    http://thekeypieces.blogspot.com

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  19. Hi! I like this post so much, really great pics!
    If you want come and visit my blog, and if you like, follow me!

    http://cosamimetto.blogspot.com/

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  20. How fun! I think I'll be going this weekend!


    www.blackandblondeone.com

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  21. How did you get involved with the teen program?!

    I'd love if you had time to respond with an email!

    hannah.kimmerle@gmail.com


    I'm a design student in NYC and would love info on events like that!

    Looks like you enjoyed it!

    XO
    http://heytherekid.blogspot.com

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  22. looks amazing, i wish i was there too! xx

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  23. What a great inspiration, this pictures are gorgeous!! :-)

    xo,

    www.clarillapilla.com

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  24. omgosh! your so lucky! what beautiful pictures too, his designs are to beautiful for words! :O

    www.christinebalram.blogspot.com

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  25. wow! I am completely jealous! I wish I could've gone, but it sounds like an incredible experience. Great hat! http://thearcenciel.blogspot.com/

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  26. Amazing pictures!
    To see your other pictures, can't believe you are just 15!


    XoXo
    H&C from Amsterdam
    www.sistersandsisters.com

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  27. That's so awesome! I wish I could've gone to the event, but I could only go to the exhibit, though that was still so amazing!


    I've awarded your blog the "One Lovely Blogger Award"! Come check my blog out to see it!

    -Erin
    fashionunderwater.blogspot.com

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  28. Anonymous7/14/2011

    I love Alexander McQueen, he was truely original and his ideas were just out of this world! I wish they had one of these exhibits on in London! And meeting Tavi must have been amazing, so jealous!

    Caggie
    p.s. please visit my blog:
    kommon-knowledge.blogspot.com

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  29. Ugh you are so lucky - loved reading your thoughts on the exhibition too - I really would love to go but think I get to NYC after it ends unfortunately.
    The hat you made is pretty cute! x

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  30. that's amazing!
    i wish i had this opportunity

    xx

    http://chequematte.blogspot.com/

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  31. sounds like you had an amazing time!

    www.danceinarainstorm.blogspot.com

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  32. Loved your style!

    www.claralatieneclara.blogspot.com

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  33. So awe inspiring!!! Very cool u got to meet Tavi ;) Looks like an amazing day!

    ps- I am following you on bloglovin, babe! Adore ur blog!!



    moonstruck exposé

    x. juliana

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  34. This looks absolutely amazing! Tavi Gevinson must've been sooo cool! xoxo, Veena <3

    http://seven-inch-stilettos.blogspot.com

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  35. the butterfly hat was one of my many favorites from the exhibition as well.

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  36. Adore MCQUEEN!


    XoXo
    H&C from Amsterdam
    www.sistersandsisters.com

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  37. fantastic exhibition. :) Just love mcqueen!! A great way to pay homage to a great man. :) x

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  38. You look so cute with your newly designed hat! Wow what an experience to visit the Alexander McQueen exhibit! You definitely are rewarded many privileges! The last time I came to your blog, your post was about your trip to the Teen Vogue office! Amazing! McQueen is definitely an artist and will live on forever!

    beautyandfashionmashup.blogspot.com
    -The BF Mashup

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  39. Great post!! So jealous you got to go to the exhibit. It looks amazing. Following your blog now!

    XO, Liza
    fashion over groceries

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  40. you are my favorite person ever. I adore the photos of the entrance, and your outfit was perfect for the occasion!

    xoxo

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  41. Beautiful choice of photographs!!
    Love Alexander McQueen, one of the fashion greats.
    I am following your blog, follow too :)?
    xox
    FFV*

    http://foodfashionvictim.blogspot.com/

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  42. isn't Tavi looking sweeet! I'm so digging her red hair, suits her brilliantly.

    x camilla

    intothefoldfashion.blogspot.com

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  43. Love Alexander McQueen, the exhibits look amazing!

    http://www.badjoan.com
    http://www.badjoan.blogspot.com

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  44. OMG! I am soooo jealous I am missing this because I'm working in London!!!!

    http://ilovethatshirt.blogspot.com/2011/07/now-i-cant-see-i-just-stare.html

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  45. Hi! I like this post so much, you look really great and seems like you had really great time!
    If you want come and visit my blog, and if you like, follow me!I'll be waiting for you!

    http://cosamimetto.blogspot.com/

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  46. I really love the Colors..
    I'll be checkin' out more about your post.
    --Starting to admire you..

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  47. Beautiful choice of photographs!!
    Love Alexander McQueen, one of the fashion greats.

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  48. Looks like it was a great day! I wish they had such events/initiatives here in Milan. Love the hat. You're very cute. A big kiss from Milano.

    http://absolutelyfaaabulous.wordpress.com/

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  49. I am SO jealous about the exhibit! Take me with you! haha

    Keep up the great work!
    Follow me back if youd like!
    Smiles,
    Aina
    THE DUSTY LOFT

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  50. Must have been such a fun and interesting experience ! would love to see this expo.
    and I really like the outfit you wore for it

    www.tripsandtreasureS.blogspot.com

    my life and outfits in belgium

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  51. I was so upset i missed that exhibition while i was there :(
    great shots!

    love the blog.
    x

    eddieseye.blogspot.com

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  52. love the McQueen scarf perfect outfit to take in his genius.

    Shanny

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  53. OMG!!!! I love love love this post. Well done!!!!

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