Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Hail to McQueen!" Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at The MET

Last week I received and e-mail from my big brother Troy. I was so moved by his words on the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty collection, I said I must see the exhibit immediately. So, on Saturday my godson Noah and I spent the day at The Met and I must say “Hail to McQueen!”

There is no way back for me now. I am going to take

you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.

—Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Dates: May 4, 2011–July 31, 2011
Location: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, 2nd floor

So my play brother Robert phones me yesterday and invites me to the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I said great let’s meet on the steps at 09.30hrs. I fall out of bed, out of sugar so no sugar for my coffee--so only one cup. I get there on time and he’s not there. I phone him and he says, “Didn’t you get my message?” No I did not. By now there is a bee in my beehive despite extra Final Net. Roberts with the fashion house Escada here in NYC, and due to a client meeting could not make our museum get-together. It is raining and like that wet cat named Cat in Breakfast At Tiffany’s, I’m ready to go hide until Audrey Hepburn comes in a taxicab to collect me. At first I say forget it I’m going back home and brood, feeling slightly wilted.

Then, the spirit says to me go in and see the exhibit. Well, I did and let me tell you, my dear friends, I’ve never cried and laughed at anything the way I did this morning. Fashion is not my bag, but that Alexander McQueen was a genius and the show truly has more to do with art than just fashion haute couture. The show is huge, but some things are worth mentioning. It begins with the ostrich feature dress done up to make you holler for mercy. Then there’s the razor clam shell dress. The Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims collection is an event in cutting that will never be matched by any cutting room floor. The Hieronymus Bosch collection is awesome. Dress Horn of Plenty from the Dante collection had me on my knees. Widows of Culloden collection made me marvel. Then, there’s this white cotton muslin dress spray painted black and yellow, under skirt of white synthetic tulle. The dress is beautiful, but the monitor above the dress plays the fashion show where the model is center stage wearing the dress flanked by two robotic arms, the kind used in automobile manufacturing. The model takes a narrative dramatic pose frightened by the machines, and the robotic arms go to work spray painting the dress in a space-age performance that brings the audience at the actual show to its knees and the audience in the museum exhibit applauding. I cried and then I laughed and then I cried some more at all the over-the-top creations.

The grand finally of the exhibit is Pepper’s Ghost. It is a genuine hologram of supermodel Kate Moss wearing a white dress that is truly indescribable. It is inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. She’s not wearing the dress, the dress is wearing her as she does this awesome, uniquely haunting movement (dance of the spirit) that captures pure motion. I do not remember seeing her face, only the dress billowing like sea foam. The gallery space is made to resemble the Palace at Versailles but in dramaticized Gothic ambiance. The monitors above each collection of haute couture plays scenes from various fashion shows where you see the clothes in action, but there is no simple models working the runways sweetie, and this is where Alexander McQueen proves his artistic vision goes far beyond fashion. His shows are narrative dramatic Conceptual art where models act or give this Cirque du Soleil kind of performance that is awe-inspiring. Words cannot explain what I saw today, really it goes beyond description. Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty will haunt you and set you free. Most important it will make you glad you saw something that is so special you can have faith in the wonders of the imagination.

Let’s keep Robert in our thoughts and prayers as he leaves for his second mission to Haiti this Saturday. Robert, Bon Voyage! And thanks for Alexander McQueen. It’s just what I needed.



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