A McQueen State of Mind
I wanted to write about the Color Wheel this week. My idea was to break it down into simple theory, so that we could all understand what the heck it meant, and why we really should combine orange walls with blue furniture….. But, I got distracted. Yesterday, a stressful morning, just begged to have a happy afternoon. So, I decided to take my daughter to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I have loved Alexander McQueen from the very first time he emerged, kilted and chubby, onto the Runway, deciding to shock the fashion industry out of it’s classically trained coma. This year, the McQueen Fashion House came to the Met. For a few months, many of us had the unique opportunity to see the designs that walked, ran and splattered down the Runway. Sometimes, the ability to shock can masquerade as creativity, but McQueen was not one of these people – he was a man who could cleverly channel his feelings into his talent, and tell a story. I think that this is what made me so in awe of him. He was able to apply himself to his craft, in a way that expressed who he was, while still keeping the public entertained. He saw beauty in everything, especially the unfinished and the questioned. Inspiration was whatever he was experiencing at that moment; be it political or emotional, he managed to express it through his passion, staying true to what he believed in and channeling his energy into his work (art). When we do things that we love, it shows. We put more effort into it, and we try our hardest to make it better every time. It gives meaning to the everyday, poetry to the ordinary. I have been to many exhibitions at museums, but this was the first one that provoked so much emotion. Each collection was divided into rooms, all of which were designed to match the theme; slabs of concrete, holographs, words, music, shattered wood, mirrors, glass, wind and water, were all incorporated into a non-stop journey of his life. The people who created it should be applauded for giving us an experience, not just an exhibition. Almost every piece was close enough to touch; making it easy to see the exquisite details, and allowing us time to decide whether or not we really liked what we were looking at. Although the lines were long, and the crowds heavy, it was possible to take as much time as we needed; wondering whether or not we would prefer to wear the black ostrich feather coat with the teetering armadillo shoes, or the molded, leather dress (I would wear the molded, leather dress – in the burgundy, please!). My daughter loved all of the asymmetric coats, and the outfits made out of unusual materials (are mussel shells as heavy as they look?), while my favorites changed from one room to the next. I was overwhelmed by many of the pieces, especially the ones that combined hard and soft materials, balancing good and bad, life and death… One of my favorites was a gold-leafed, duck feather coat combined with a full, white skirt. The photographs do not do it justice – thousands and thousands of feathers were hand painted, then sewn to create a coat that hugged the body like a suit of armor. It molded her hips, then the skirt exploded from underneath into a sea of plain, white tulle and gold thread. When so much is happening around us, it is easy to overlook the extraordinary, thinking that to take the time would be frivolous or indulgent. But, we are wrong, to appreciate beauty, in any form, is never a waste of time….
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