Until September 10, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec presents the exhibition Alexander McQueen – Art Meets Fashion, which pays tribute to the work of British designer Alexander McQueen. The latter marked the history of fashion with his sense of provocation, his spectacular parades and his non-conformism.
This exhibition created by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is presented for the first time in Canada. It explores the designer’s creative process, combining Alexander McQueen’s 69 sets (from the collection of Regina J. Drucker) with works of art from different periods, from antiquity to the present day. This association between art and fashion is a real success, because it happens in a very natural way, especially when you know that McQueen used clothing to make it a committed medium.
The designer’s inspirations were multiple, ranging from Greek mythology to the Roaring Twenties and the Renaissance. He had a fascination for the human condition, nature, life, death, the environment and overconsumption.
According to Clarissa M. Esguerra, Curator of Costume and Textiles at LACMA, Alexander McQueen was a forward-thinking designer who still inspires designers today. “His know-how, his silhouettes, his collections are extremely rich and complex, because each creation tells a story with artistic or historical references. That’s the genius of McQueen, and that’s what you see in this exhibit,” she said.
“LACMA is an encyclopedic museum and we wondered how we could present McQueen’s ensembles with works that inspired him, whatever the era,” she points out. There are, for example, works by Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso on bullfighting that echo McQueen’s creations.
“In this Pierre Lassonde pavilion, we had the space to add works from our collection, which demonstrates how universal Alexander McQueen is in choosing themes that still resonate today, be it the status of women, the cycle of life or climate change,” explains Maude Lévesque, exhibition curator at the MNBAQ.
The scenography of the exhibition is very neat, which will seduce visitors, because the projections on the ground, the music and the light effects surprise us from the first room, and throughout the course, composed of six major emblematic places. with very different atmospheres.
One of the most impressive rooms is The Alley, where you are plunged into darkness in a dark London alley. It presents dresses and ensembles from different collections, including that of the autumn-winter 2008-2009, The girl who lived in the tree, which evokes a fairy tale punk princess who leaves the branches of her tree to explore the terrestrial world. A magnificent black strapless dress caught our attention, it is embroidered with illustrations by Arthur Rackham (British painter who illustrated many children’s books) for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and, just next to it, we have associated the Lush photography by Quebecer Holly King, who seems straight out of McQueen’s universe. Fabulous.
In this same room, we also explore the Scottish origins of the designer, who condemned British colonialism with the Widows of Culloden collection (fall-winter 2006-2007).
McQueen had a perfect command of pattern construction, as well as cuts and sewing techniques. He has always innovated with digital printing on clothing, we see it through the printing of a black and white photo on a sequined jacket. “We have found the real original photograph, an 1845 daguerreotype of Carl Gustav Oehme, and for the first time the original work and McQueen’s jacket are reunited,” says Maude Lévesque.
The laboratory, in the end, dazzles with its latest collection L’Atlantide de Platon (Spring-Summer 2010) where McQueen experiments and imagines a world engulfed by the ocean where we are half-fish, half-woman. The designs, fabrics and prints are spectacular, and we get to see the famous Armadillo, the shoes Lady Gaga wears in the Bad Romance music video.
Thirteen years after his death, Alexander McQueen is still relevant. “Having opinions, putting them forward through his collections and wanting to remake the world, he did it in his own way”, thinks Stéphane Le Duc, ambassador of the exhibition. “Some of his designs challenged body shapes like low waists. The shoes from the L’Atlantide de Platon collection have changed the gait and posture of the body, that’s what a couturier dreams of doing, and that’s what he has achieved with exceptional talent”, concludes- he.
“The event of the summer is this exhibition in Quebec,” said Jean-Luc Murray, director of the MNBAQ. It is indeed the must-see exhibition of the summer.