Tuesday, 17 February 2015

MCQUEEN...


There is something sinister, something quite biographical about what I do - but that part is for me. It's my personal business. I think there is a lot of romance, melancholy. There's a sadness to it, but there's romance in sadness. I suppose I am a very melancholy person.Alexander McQueen                                                                                                                                                                               
For the many that have at a point surfed through the media or digital platforms for the trending fashion and designer, a McQueen must have been encountered. You know how it is say that everybody know a Mike? Well, it is fair to said that a true artist and lover of the weft and warp would have at a point in time, gazed with unfathomably at the creations of Alexander McQueen. My search for a daring designer lead me straight to him and fascinating is too small an adverb to qualify the creations that lived with and after him.                                                       
Born born on March 17, 1969, in Lewisham, London, McQueen became the head designer of the Louis Vuitton-owned Givenchy fashion line and launched his men’s clothing line in 2004. He earned the British Fashion Council's British Designer of the Year award four times, and was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire. McQueen committed suicide in 2010, shortly after the death of his mother
                                                              
What is your muse? This is what I like to ask any artist no matter the line of expression. How does a man position his mind to conjure and interpret the inner waves that spark and rage with light? McQueen is a rare artist that has more eyes than the ordinary. He plays with the unusual and creates art from the most distant of themes. My instant attraction to his work is the uncommon themes of his collection; Highland Rape, Autumn/Winter 1995, Golden Shower, Spring/Summer 1998, No 13, Spring/Sumer 1999,Voss, Spring/Summer 2001,It’s Only a Game, Spring/Summer 2005 Windows of Culloden Autumn/ Winter 2006, Horn of Plenty Autumn/Winter 2009, Plato’s Atlantis Spring/Summer 2010 among  other. The peculiarity of his themes transcend to his design, dresses that craved out a place of unusual creativity for him in the world of fashion.

 

(RIGHT)‘I don’t really get inspired [by specific women]. . . . It’s more in the minds of the women in the past, like Catherine the Great, or Marie Antoinette. People who were doomed. Joan of Arc or Colette. Iconic women’ McQueen-Purple Fashion, Summer 2007



  

Red and black dyed ostrich feather dress featuring bodice made of glass medical slides painted red, to represent how “there’s blood beneath every layer of skin.” VOSS, Spring 2001.(RIGHT)

 

'When I design, I try to sell an image of a woman that I have in [my] mind, a concept that changes dramatically each season.'McQueen-Corriere della Sera, July 14, 2003

'[In this collection] she was a feral creature living in the tree. When she decided to descend to earth, she transformed into a princess.'McQueen-Interview, September 2008

'Scotland for me is a harsh, cold and bitetr place. Itwas even wors when my great, great grandfather used to live there...the reason i'm patriotic about Scotland is because I think it's been dealt a really hard hand. It's marketed the world over as...haggis...bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it.' McQueen-The independent Fashion Magazine, Autumn/Winter 1999


Exceptional creations of McQueen have been staged and though they may express an unusual atmosphere and tone, he creates then to go beyond borders of a season and sustain and attitude beyond its acceptance.
Andrew Bolton stated that  'it was precisely his[McQueen's] romantic yearnings that propelled his creativity and advanced fashion in the directions previously considered unimaginable

Alexander McQueen – Savage Beauty exhibition at The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York features five of McQueen’s landmark collections — Dante (Autumn/Winter 1996-97),NO13 (Spring/Summer 1999),VOSS (Spring/Summer 2001), Irere (Spring/Summer 2003), and Plato’s Atlantis (Spring/Summer 2010). The collection is divided into galleries of themes and concepts occurring in McQueen’s work — The Romantic Mind, Romantic Gothic, Romantic Naturalism, Romantic Primitivism, Romantic Nationalism, and Romantic Exoticism, as well as a Cabinet of Curiosities. Below, razor-clam shell dress from VOSS, Spring 2001.
According to Andrew Bolton McQueen often used the raw materials of nature, and a striking example is this dress, which is entirely covered with pheasant feathers. The silhouette, with its long torso, is based on dresses from the 1890s.
The dress formed part of the 2006–7 collection, Widows of Culloden, which referenced a battle in the struggles between England and Scotland.

Birds in flight fascinate me. I admire eagles and falcons. I’m inspired by a feather but also its colour, its graphics, its weightlessness and its engineering. It’s so elaborate. In fact I try and transpose the beauty of a bird to women.’ McQueen-Numéro, December 2007


Nude silk organza embroidered with silk flowers and fresh flowers, “Sarabande”, Spring 2007. 
Remember Sam Taylor-Wood’s dying fruit? Things rot. . . . I used flowers because they die. My mood was darkly romantic at the time.’ McQueen-Harper’s Bazaar, April 2007  


(RIGHT) White cotton muslin spray-painted black and yellow with under skirt of whit synthetic tulle

‘[The finale of this collection] was inspired by an installation by artist Rebecca Horn of two shotguns firing blood-red paint at each other.McQueen-Style,” South China Morning Post, September 2007

(LEFT) Dress and glove of printed silk satin; underskirt of duck feathers painted gold.



‘I relate more to that cold, austere asceticism of the Flemish masters, and I also love the macabre thing you see in Tudor and Jacobean portraiture.’ McQueen-Harper’s & Queen, April 2003








(RIGHT) Razor-clam shell stripped and varnished

My friend George and I were walking on the beach in Norfolk, and there were thousands of [razor-clam] shells. They were so beautiful, I thought I had to do something with them. So, we decided to make [a dress] out of them. . . . The shells had outlived their usefulness on the beach, so we put them to another use on a dress. Then Erin [O’Conner] came out and trashed the dress, so their usefulness was over once again. Kind of like fashion, really. ’McQueen-WWD, September 28, 2000


According to Andrew Bolton, one of the most compelling item from Alexander McQueen's exhibition is the ensemble made of duck feathers dyed black to give out the impression of a raven which was a romantic symbol of death. The ensemble is among McQueen's collection 'The Horn of Plenty' which was much inspired by the 1950's haute couture. McQueen's love for high shoulders and small waist. McQueen was a lover of birds and their feathers played a major role in his works.


 In McQueen's words, 'It is important to look at death because it is part of life. It is a sad thing, melancholy but romantic at the same time. It is the end of a cycle-everything has an end. The cycle of life is positive because it gives room for mew things' Drapers-Feb 20,2010

“[This collection] was a shout against English designers . . . doing flamboyant Scottish clothes. My father’s family originates from the Isle of Skye, and I’d studied the history of the Scottish upheavals and the Clearances. People were so unintelligent they thought this was about women being raped—yet Highland Rape was about England’s rape of Scotland.” McQueen-Time Out (London), September 24–October 1, 1997



(RIGHT)Ensemble VOSS collection Spring Summer 2001, a jacket of pink and gray wool bird's eye embroidered with silk thread; trouser of pink and grey wool bird's eye; hat of pink and grey embroidered with silk thread and decorated with Amaranthus



'I liked the padded hips because they didn't make the [piece] look historical...more sensual. Like the statue of Diana with breast and big hips. Its more maternal, more womanly.'McQueen- Purple Fashion, Issue 7, Summer 2007





(Right)The Oyster dress from McQueen's Irene Spring /Summer 2003 collection is made of hundreds of layers of silk organza, almost like a mille-feuiller pastry. The collection told the story of  a shipwreck at the sea and the subsequent landfall in the Amazon, peopled with pirates, conquistadors and Amazonian Indians. The collection was also indspired by the life





Of this piece from McQueen's collection,'Its only a Game', Bolton states that plays around the idea of   a chess match between America and Japan. The Queen (outfit above) wears a short. thigh-tight dress, which is wide at the hips, a silhouette based on the 18th century. The kimono collar, obi sash and an undershirt beautifully embroidered are all drawn from the Japaneses culture.



(LEFT)'I spent a long time learning how to co struct clothes, which is important to do before you can deconstruct them'. McQueen-Self service, Spring/ Summer 2002





The 'Eshu' Dress(Right) was inspired by the Yoruba people of West Africa, mixing tribal details with luxurious fabric. The dress  was embroidered with yellow glass beads interwoven with horsehair. McQueen contrast the sophistication of the beading with the rawness of the hair.


'(I try) push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking of how we look. What I do is to look at ancient African tribes and the way they dress. The rituals of how they dress...there's a lot of tribalism in the collection.' McQueen-Purple Fashion,Issue 7, Summer 2007


(LEFT) Overdress of  panels from the nineteenth- century Japanese silk screen; under dress of oyster shell with neck piece of silver and Tahiti pearls. Neck piece by Shaun Leane






According to Sarah Burton, Plato's Atlantis(LEFT) which is the last collection of McQueen was an idea of sort of the reversal of evolution, how life would evoke back into the water if the ice caps melted and we were reclaimed by nature.

[This collection predicts a future in which] the ice cap would melt...the water would rise and...life on earth would have to evolve in order to live beneath the sea once more or perish. Humanity [would] go back to the place from once it came', McQueen- Plato's Atlantis-Spring/Summer 2010








(RIGHT)Dress VOSS, Spring/ Summer 2001 Nude synthetic net appliqued with roundels in the shape of chrysanthemums embroidered with red, gold and black Ostrich feathers























(LEFT)Dress of black leather;collar of red pheasant feathers and  resin vulture skuls; gloves of black leather 

[In this collection] my idea was this mad scientist who cut all these women up and mixed them all back together.McQueen-Numéro, July/August 2002


“I don’t think like the average person on the street. I think quite perversely sometimes. McQueen-Dazed and Confused, September 1998






.....The turnover of fashion is just so quick and so throwaway, and I think that is a big part of the problem. There is no longevity.....Alexander McQueen



                                                       SOURCES:http://blog.metmuseum.org/alexandermcqueen/objects/

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