Published in
Features

A Look at the Work of Fashion Designer Alexander McQueen

It's been a busy few days for the house of Alexander McQueen.

On Friday, Kate Middleton wore a lacy white long-sleeved gown designed by Sarah Burton, who took over the British fashion house after McQueen committed suicide last February. Tuesday, hundreds attended the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute's gala that celebrated McQueen. And on Wednesday, the Met opens its dark, provocative show dedicated to McQueen's work called "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty."

Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen

Over 100 McQueen ensembles and 70 accessories created over 19 years are part of the exhibition. The work is split into five sections--"Romantic Mind," "Romantic Gothic," "Romantic Nationalism," "Romantic Exoticism," "Romantic Primitivism"--and they all say Alexander McQueen. They are edgy, political and draw on Victorian and Modern fashions from the late 1800s and 1950s.

Designer Stella McCartney, who was a close friend of McQueen's, said Monday during a press preview that the exhibit reminded her how prolific her friend Lee was before he died.

"When you see the [Met's] show, you remember all of them instantly," said McCartney. "You know, you're just really surprised by the amount of incredible shows that he had."

"Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" opens on Wednesday and is on view through July 31.  Click below to see a slideshow of some of the work on view.

Drumroll, please...
Drumroll, please... ( Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. )
One of two opening pieces at the Alexander McQueen show at the Met's Costume Institute.
One of two opening pieces at the Alexander McQueen show at the Met's Costume Institute. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
One of two opening pieces at the Alexander McQueen show at the Met's Costume Institute.
One of two opening pieces at the Alexander McQueen show at the Met's Costume Institute. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
The crowd at the Alexander McQueen preview on Monday.
The crowd at the Alexander McQueen preview on Monday. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Part of the show's "Romantic Mind" section that shows McQueen's obsession with precise tailoring.
Part of the show's "Romantic Mind" section that shows McQueen's obsession with precise tailoring. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
McQueen's "bumster" bottoms look, also part of the "Romantic Mind" section.
McQueen's "bumster" bottoms look, also part of the "Romantic Mind" section. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
The show had creepy music and a few creepy garments...
The show had creepy music and a few creepy garments... ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
A breeze billowed the trousers on this manakin.
A breeze billowed the trousers on this manakin. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Sounds of wolves howling accompanied these ensembles.
Sounds of wolves howling accompanied these ensembles. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
"Romantic Primitivism" shows--like it or not--how McQueen used the idea of the "noble savage" as inspiration.
"Romantic Primitivism" shows--like it or not--how McQueen used the idea of the "noble savage" as inspiration. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
More from "Romantic Primitivism."
More from "Romantic Primitivism." ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
One of the show's rooms is a cabinet of curiosities, featuring fetishized accesories. Playing are eerie videos of runway models and robotic tape loops.
One of the show's rooms is a cabinet of curiosities, featuring fetishized accesories. Playing are eerie videos of runway models and robotic tape loops. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
An Alexander McQueen quote.
An Alexander McQueen quote. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Also in the eerie boxed up room: this manikin.
Also in the eerie boxed up room: this manikin. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Shoes!
Shoes! ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Demi-manikins.
Demi-manikins. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
This was one of the more toned-down pieces in the show.
This was one of the more toned-down pieces in the show. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Kate Middleton didn't wear this veil at her royal wedding, but she did wear a dress designed by Sarah Burton. Burton took over the House of McQueen after the designer died.
Kate Middleton didn't wear this veil at her royal wedding, but she did wear a dress designed by Sarah Burton. Burton took over the House of McQueen after the designer died. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
This piece was in McQueen's autumn/winter "Widows of Culloden" show in 2006-07.
This piece was in McQueen's autumn/winter "Widows of Culloden" show in 2006-07.
Next to the wild bridal veil was this frock of flowers.
Next to the wild bridal veil was this frock of flowers. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
The bottom of the dress.
The bottom of the dress. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
Kimono jackets and origami frock coats are on view in the show's "Romantic Exoticism" gallery.
Kimono jackets and origami frock coats are on view in the show's "Romantic Exoticism" gallery. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
The ensembles have mirrors surrounding them.
The ensembles have mirrors surrounding them. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
A lone white frock.
A lone white frock. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
The Met's show also includes some multimedia, like this six-inch hologram of Kate Moss on the runway. (Image does not to justice to the projection!)
The Met's show also includes some multimedia, like this six-inch hologram of Kate Moss on the runway. (Image does not to justice to the projection!) ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
McQueen pays homage to his roots: Scotland.
McQueen pays homage to his roots: Scotland. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
More Scottish tartans.
More Scottish tartans. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
This work is another ensemble from McQueen's "Widows of Culloden" show from autum/winter 2006-07.
This work is another ensemble from McQueen's "Widows of Culloden" show from autum/winter 2006-07. ( Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce, Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum )
Included in the "Romantic Nationalism" section of the exhibit are these ensembles, called "Highland Rape."
Included in the "Romantic Nationalism" section of the exhibit are these ensembles, called "Highland Rape." ( Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art )
And finally, gold feathers.
And finally, gold feathers. ( Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce, Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum )
Setting the stage for the McQueen gala on Monday night.
Setting the stage for the McQueen gala on Monday night. ( Abbie Fentress Swanson/WNYC )
of