Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Day Fashion Made Me Cry

At one time or another, every aspiring fashionista has an experience that tests their devotion to the art and, in doing so, shakes them to their core.  While my top fashion experience will always be Tibi RTW Fall 2011, I'm still in complete shock and joy that I even went to fashion week, my second favorite at this moment is seeing Savage Beauty at the MET this past weekend. I'm so upset that, for obvious reasons, we couldn't take pictures of the actual exhibit. I did, however, purchase the Savage Beauty book. So, in order to properly inform you lovely people about this experience, I'm walking you through the basics.

The Savage Beauty Book

Spooky, right?
After four hours of sleep, I chugged caffeine and hopped on the Metro North.
My token fashionista, Tori, traveled from D.C-ish to see this exhibit.
We got there when the MET opened and, as a result, didn't stand in a line.
If that's not devotion, I don't know what is.

From beginning to end, Savage Beauty was everything I hoped for. In short, but I'll explain more no worries, it was beautiful, inspiring, and tragic. 

For years, I have loved Mr. McQueen's work from a far: I'd stalk his designs in magazines or but seeing his creations in the flesh was beyond. It was surreal to the extreme. All of  the details and different mediums he used were impressive in pictures. But in real life? A million times better. Whether it was headpieces, accessories, or actual clothing, Alexander McQueen always designed with an eye for detail. In my mind, the exhibit wasn't a fashion exhibit, but wearable art. The best part is that some of his works aren't protected by glass. If I wasn't afraid of being tackled by the MET security brigade, I would've touched and/or stolen every single piece.  I was so smitten.

This was probably my favorite look to see in real life. The gilded feathers  were absolutely stunning and extravagant. (Fall 2010 RTW)
A slew of accessories! All of the detail is incredible and I love how no two pieces look alike. How's that for innovation?
This look will always  remind me of the beginning of Black Swan, even though this look came first. Prime example of wearable art. The execution is incredible.
What I also love about Alexander McQueen is how each collection's concept is so, for lack of a better term, obvious. While I was at Savage Beauty, I kept looking at the actual names of the collections.  And each collection name was flawlessly cohesive with every single look.  The cohesiveness of  each collection just furthered the beauty of every single thing McQueen does. This made me a bit emotional.

Doesn't this look like Plato's Atlantis to you? (Spring 2010 RTW)

I've never seen any of McQueen's older creations, which of course was featured in Savage Beauty. Seeing the progression from his start to his tragically beautiful finale was inspiring. Of course Alexander McQueen is an irreplaceable designer, but his progression with inspiration and detail made his work inspiring. A lot of his beginning collections were- I feel like a jerk for saying this- simplistic. Obviously the clothes were beautifully executed and had interesting silhouettes, but his later works were more creative and theatrical. In a way, and this may be the worst comparison in the history of comparisons but, McQueen reminds me of the fashion world's Lady Gaga: both are artists in their own way and have an iconic, yet unusual, sense of identity. I mean..."Fashion of His Love" is about Mr. McQueen! The originality and quirkiness of his pieces remind me that, in a world obsessed with trend, truly anything is possible. Cliche? Sorry.

Back when McQueen's success was just a dream. 
His last and, in my humble opinion, best collection (Fall RTW 2010).

Speaking of amazing,
They had this one display of a dress from Spring RTW 1999 that was actually spray painted on the runway. Like, who does that?  It is that kind of innovation that I literally swoon for. I was probably- no,  I definitely was- that nerd in the exhibit who stared at that display for a solid ten minutes. It was just beyond amazing.  My eyes really did water which I guess makes me lame, but it was so inspiring.

The whole exhibit was beautifully gothic; however, tragic at the same time.  Throughout Savage Beauty, solemn music was playing, as if the audience was truly mourning McQueen's death.  In a way, it was a public funeral.  What made me really emotional, besides the fabulous creations, was some of the McQueen quotes incorporated in exhibit. While a lot of them were about his designs, inspirations,  and execution, some of them were about death:

"I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or a way of cutting, so that when I'm dead and gone people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen."
When I read that, I seriously got chills. I'm going to jump out of my fashion bubble right now and get real with you. It makes me really sad death is the only way someone can escape. Whether he was a nobody or Alexander McQueen, his death will always be tragic.  But this quote is so true; his short life made such a great impression on so many people and the fashion industry as well, he will never be forgotten.  He will always be known as that designer who showed the world that we must dress to express. This is when I almost cried.

This blew my mind away (Fall RTW 2008)

I don't know if everyone is this way, but it takes a lot for me to actually cry.  After  really emotional things, like Savage Beauty, all I need is something really tiny to happen. And then I cry. When I got off of the train post-exhibit, my mother was extremely impressed by my museum look. "Let's take a picture for your blog!" she shrieked. Even though I think that taking pictures for blogs can be egotistical, depending on the context,  I agreed.  If I couldn't take pictures of the actual exhibit, this would have to suffice.  So there we are in my front yard, my mother snapping away and me feeling quite awkward. Anyways, I ended up falling in this mini ditch in my front yard. Some may think it was because my ankle hurt or my hip felt weird, but I knew that I was releasing the emotions from the exhibit. It must sound lame now, it sounds pretty lame as I'm typing this, but the whole exhibit was so breathtaking and tragic. There were times, I tell you, that I was seriously paralyzed by the beauty of the exhibit. And the fact that McQueen took his own life is truly heartbreaking. Okay, now I'm starting to sound like a nerd, but you get where I'm coming from.  So here I am, crying my eyes out, and my mom continues to take pictures. In retrospect, it was quite hysterical; however,  I was really pissed then.

Speaking of my fashion choice for this special occasion, let me break it down for you:

-Oversized white button-down from Urban Outfitters (this one's pretty close).
-Cuffed jean shorts from Urban Outfitters (I'd suggest these).
-Bangles galore from   Henri Bendel and Kate Spade.
-Steve Madden toughie boots (try these on for size).

When I found out that I'd finally be going to see Savage Beauty, I knew that I had  to wear my only McQueen piece. Literally, there was no other alternative. Though I wish this blouse was fitted instead of typically baggy, I like this look because it's chic yet comfortable. I kept the base of the look casual because the city can be a hot and miserable place in the summertime. And the ballerina bun was both chic and functional, which I was a major fan of.  In order to spice up this potentially simplistic outfit,  I incorporated edgier accessories because McQueen is the king of edgy. I wear those bangles, my toughie boots, and the scarf whenever I'm feeling a bit tough  so it was beyond perfect. I was channeling Kourtney Kardashian's Parisian bow, which my friend Catherine despises...sorry Catherine. But anyways, this look was everything I wanted in an outfit:comfortable, chic, and edgy.

Before I go on an even longer McQueen rant or cry again, I'll end this blog post. Thanks for putting up with my long McQueen tale and I highly suggest you check out Savage Beauty before it's too late!
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  1. thanks for the great info. your description of the exhibit makes me feel like I was there. I hope I can see it in person, but I live kind of far from NYC. I am a fan of his and a fan or your blog, please keep up your blogging. thanks!

  2. Great coverage of the McQueen exhibit! I have always wanted to see it, but now more than ever since reading your take on it. Interested in going again?

  3. Quite a recital and perfectly written