We recently had the privilege of viewing a pair of incredible exhibitions featuring two of the most influential designers of our times....
It was one of those unforgettable moments, one where you remember where you were and what you were doing; that horrible day when we all heard that Alexander Lee McQueen had left us in such a tragic way…The true visionary and sheer talent that he was, as is unfortunately often the case, finally came to be fully appreciated upon his untimely death.
The vision and talent were re-confirmed when we had the great good fortune to recently see the inspiring show “Savage Beauty” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the white hot universe that was Manhattan on a steamy July week-end.
We had been following Mr. McQueen since his "Bumster Trousers" from one of his early collections right out of Central Saint Martin’s, through his bad boy phase where he would only do interviews with his back to the camera, to his short stay at Givenchy. It was the latter stop where he learned, building upon his strong tailoring background, the softness and fluidity that ultimately remained in many of his best pieces, most recently embodied in the famous Kate Moss hologram.
The beading! The shoes! The head pieces created by Philip Treacy, ever immortalized by that other tragic figure (and Lee’s muse) Isabella Blow. They were all there to see.
The perfect cutting and seaming, which looked like jigsaw puzzles, all sewn to create such masterpieces. And always in the back of your mind is the question… how on earth could a pattern ever be made to replicate that which you are beholding?
The ability to see and experience these works of art so closely and personally is truly something that will stay with us for a long time. It is a credit to the curatorial staff that we were indeed able to get so close to these inspiring pieces. Inspiring, as well, was the sense of respect of everyone attending (and there were many of us attending the exhibit the day we were there- some had waited up to two hours to be up front and personal with many of Mr. McQueen’s most iconic pieces.)
In retrospect, this show was a stand out in its beauty and sheer drama, all underscored, of course, by his tragic demise. Dare we say it?: very spiritual...
Alexander McQueen:”Savage Beauty”
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
Closed August 7th, 2011
At the other end of the spectrum, the following week-end found us in Montreal to experience the genius of M. Jean Paul Gaultier.
The theatricality of this show, upon entering the beautiful venue that is Le Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal, brought a smile to one's face.
The exhibit included the ingenious (and slightly creepy) use of film projected onto the faces of the mannequins so that they actually appeared to be speaking, singing or better yet looking at you, and even at times whistling as you walked by. It was all pure joy.
And it was all there; the bustier made famous by Madonna, his use of denim in the most ingenious ways, through to the ad campaigns for his iconic "parfum".
The trademark and ever present irreverence never overshadowed what a true genius and "créateur" M. Gaultier is. The intricate workmanship and the ingenuity of his craft are never in doubt as the piece below shows:
This "animal pelt" is actually all done by the most intricate of beading...Jaw dropping indeed!
This show was pure delight. One left in awe of the talent, and above all, the joy this Gallic genius has given the world of fashion, and reminded of the extent to which he continues to play a major role in our collective popular culture.
Bravo, M. Gaultier, Bravo! And as well, to the curatorial staff at the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal. Bravo!
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier
“From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk”
Musée des Beaux Art de Montréal
Continues till October 2nd, 2011
By the time you read this the McQueen exhibit will have closed its New York run. Hopefully it will move on to another venue. The Gaultier show will run in Montreal until mid autumn. We were truly blessed to have experienced first hand these two incredible shows. They will remain with us for some time- a reflection of the true genius of both Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier.
McQueen photos 2,4,5- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
McQueen photo 3- The Coincidental Dandy Blog
McQueen photo 6- Fashions Suit blog
Gaultier phot 2- Pierre et Gilles