Talk of the town is the late British fashion designer, Alexander McQueen’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2011 in New York City. The exhibition itself starts today May 4, 2011 and from the response of attendees on the long, distinguished guest list, the exhibition should be a complete success!
Director of the Metropolitan Museum Thomas P. Campbell proudly proclaimed, “we’re experiencing a McQueen moment,” during a preview of the exhibition “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The fashion exhibition comes at a very opportune time indeed, following much publicity McQueen’s fashion house received on April 29 at the royal wedding, featuring creations by McQueen’s long time assistant and now successor, Sarah Burton who dressed Kate and Pippa Middleton and entourage.
The house of Alexander McQueen had made sure to invite the likes of Hollywood Glitterati, Musicians, and fashion icons to Monday night’s Costume Institute Gala, a fashion extravaganza that has attracted much posthumous acclaim and support in celebration of McQueen’s work.
The impressive guest list included the likes of Naomi Watts, Tory Burch with Kanye West, Madonna and Guy Oseary, Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, Taylor Swift, Peter Sarsgaard and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Beyonce, Christina Hendricks, Blake Lively, Michelle Williams, Zoe Saldana, Kristen Stewart, Calvin Klein escorting Donna Karan, Gisele Bundchen, Rihanna, Demi Moore and Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum.
To host the festivities, Burton enlisted Anna Wintour the British-born editor-in-chief of AmericanVogue, handsome British actor Colin Firth and British designer Stella McCartney – greeted the guests in an old-fashioned receiving line.
Of the evening Gala, Wintour was quoted as saying, “I remember there was a lot of blush, and a lot of red. And I remember Marc Jacobs was wearing a red kilt.”
Not sure if it was all wit, but Marc Jacobs himself, told Vogue’s William Norwich in the foyer post–red carpet that he wore a kilt because Anna Wintour told him to!
The “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” exhibition will run at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City through July 31.
Featuring more than 100 McQueen ensembles and 70 accessories covering his 16-year career, from the “majestic to the macabre.”
The collection follows his start at the 1992 Central Saint Martins postgraduate collection, which was based on Jack the Ripper — a pink and red thorn-print silk coat lined with real human hair! – and ends with the deeply religious final runway collection entitled “Angels and Demons,” that was presented after his shocking suicide in February 2010, featuring a gilded feather shroud.
Guests commented on the spectacle of the exhibition’s “haunting” background music and darkened galleries, not unlike a gothic tableau. Yet it captures the mood of “uneasy pleasure” experienced while attending one of McQueen’s runway extravaganzas, which Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton describes as “avant-garde installations” and “performance art.”
If you’re lucky enough to attend the exhibition, you’ll be treated to films of McQueen shows, including “It’s Only A Game” (shown in fall 2004), which cast models as chess pieces in a battle of East versus West, and “No. 13,” which was shown in fall 1998, featuring a model being spray-painted by two robots!
McQueen was an avid diver and enjoyed diving in the Maldives. His passion for diving is displayed through his work, which is featured at this exhibition, including “Plato’s Atlantis (shown in fall 2009), about the devolution of the species, with sculpted jellyfish-print dresses and “armadillo boots” that made the models appear as though they were morphing from humans back into oceanic creatures!
Various McQueen quotes are posted throughout the exhibition sharing his philosophy on the dichotomy of life and death, including “It is important to look at death because it is part of life,” which he said in 2010, right before he staged his own exit.
“It’s a sad thing, melancholy and romantic at the same time. It’s the end of a cycle – everything has to end. The cycle of life is positive because it gives room for new things.” Sarah Burton would agree!