~AlEXANDER McQUEEN/Savage Beauty/famous last words

it may be ashes to ashes, dust to dust . . . in mainland Germany and France.
but a little further north, on a small sea-bound island – it was visions of a way watery future,
that made Brit Alexander McQueen . . . cut out, quit, and split – the worldly dance.


maybe it’s time to sneak in a brief and final good-bye.
the MET was incredibly locked down – no photos permitted – so it was stunning to see this one installation shot (above) recently published in the New York Times. This was also one of my favorite rooms – it housed the McQueen tartan-based “Scottish Rape” series on the left. absolutely wearable – strikingly ingenious in design – and terrifyingly fierce in historical context. when McQueen is quoted at the beginning of the exhibit as saying, in quite straightforward a manner: “I am a shaman” – everyone got it. All his work was imbued with a passion, an intensity – that transcended mere talent – and resonated with deeper meaning, usually messages of an historical or global – tribal – social – or ecological – nature. his work was imbued with vision. everybody got that.

as well, you can get a sense of the dramatic production and ace design of the show. here we have matte gold panels that grid off, against the focused light of golden wall sconces. it was goth, but it was chic. you can see the next room on, is completely different, but just as compelling. talk about detail, and sensuousness – some of the entry ways between rooms, even had simulated panels of – charred black burnt wood.

as for the holograms. well one was as large as a room. literally it was a room – and the scene that unfolded was cinematic – and dramatic. the trip into (real) inner beauty . . . the other hologram was as tiny as a cupcake – and featured Kate Moss twirling around.

the captions and text were sublime. moving is the only word that comes to mind. truly, the essence of the man – delivered clearly in few, yet poignant words. yes, it was emotional. in this New York Times article, penned by ERIC WILSON – it states how sad McQueen was not to have had a wider audience for his work in his lifetime – well, in this show – he crossed over. and the huddled masses found him.

see: McQueen’s Final Showstopper/New York Times

of course the most stunning heart-stopping section, was the very last wall – with his very last collection – his ‘Atlantis’ collection. a kind of futuristic waterworks print-dominated body hugging series – that was glimpsed on several high profile models throughout the past year – at different red carpet events. if you were paying attention, you caught it.
a kind of scary Star Wars Jar Jar meets moss green tie-dye.

apparently in Britain, it is a northern island after all – a small body of land surrounded by ocean waters – it’s not a dusty apocalypse, but the whole island and its civilization as we know it, going under, water . . . everything, great cities and all, disappearing under the huge deluge of water – that will be released by global warming – and the resultant, inevitable melting of the polar ice caps . . . that spooks the nation.

Apparently McQueen watched one too many digital renderings of the future – and it really got to him. SARAH BURTON the new creative director of ALEXANDER McQUEEN, is quoted as saying: “It was the idea of a sort of the reversal of evolution, how life would evolve back into the water if the ice caps melted and we were being reclaimed by nature.”

see: McQueen Plato’s Dress/THE MET

McQueen himself, is quoted as saying something like: only those who evolve for life under water would survive. I guess he saw it coming pretty quick – and he didn’t want to stick around. kind of like suicide by digital futuristic modeling ?
I’m thinking he felt the inevitability – as close to him – as real-time / day-to-day reality.

his creative force, the visions that were “channeled” through him – his words – had burnt through him, and he was done.
at age 40.

McQueen is also quoted as saying that death is good . . . as it allows the next generation, the next creative voice, the new shaman – to speak out.

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969-2010)
‘Plato’s Atlantis’, spring/summer 2010 – silk jacguard in a snake pattern embroidered with yellow enamel paillettes in a honeycomb pattern/courtesy of Alexander McQueen. PHOTOGRAPH COPYRIGHT SOLVE SUNDSBO/Art + Commerce