This Spring, Alexander McQueen’s life work will be in full bloom at the Metropolitan Museum, where the Costume Institute is celebrating the late designer’s career with a retrospective. It sounds beyond amazing. Called Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the exhibition will be on view from May 4 through July 31, 2011 and will encompass all of his work, from his Central Saint Martins postgrad collection in 1992 to his final runway presentation this past February.
The exhibition begins two days after the Costume Institute Gala Benefit, and here are the deets we have on that: Honorary Chairs are François-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek, and the Co-Chairs will be Colin Firth, Stella McCartney, and Anna Wintour. Expect lots of McQueen.
As for the exhibition–the Costume Institute is not just throwing a range of dresses onto mannequins and calling it a day. The thoughtful retrospective will feature around 100 examples of McQueen’s work from the Alexander McQueen Archive in London, the Givenchy Archive in Paris and private collections. According to the press release, they’re even categorizing the collection into four recurring themes and concepts:
-“The Savage Mind” will examine his subversion of traditional tailoring and dressmaking practices through displacement and deconstruction.
-“Romantic Gothic” will highlight McQueen’s narrative approach to fashion and illuminate his engagement with Romantic literary traditions such as death, decay, and darkness. It will also reveal the main characters of his collections, including femme fatales and anti-heroes such as pirates and highwaymen.
-“Romantic Nationalism” will look at McQueen’s fascination with the distant past.
-“Romantic Exoticism” will examine his focus on distant places.
-“Romantic Primitivism” will explore McQueen’s engagement with the ideal of the “noble savage.”
There will also be an assortment of “atavistic and fetishized objects,” including collaborations with Philip Treacy and Shaun Leane on display in a “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Another room will show videos of McQueen’s runway presentations.
Costume Institute curators Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda are also putting together a book, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, to accompany the exhibition. It will feature a thematic overview of McQueen’s career as well as an interview with McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton. The book will be printed in a special edition with 250 illustrations and published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Andrew Bolton offers his take on McQueen’s work: “Alexander McQueen was best known for his astonishing and extravagant runway presentations, which were given dramatic scenarios and narrative structures that suggested avant-garde installation and performance art. His fashions were an outlet for his emotions an expression of the deepest, often darkest, aspects of his imagination. He was a
true romantic in the Byronic sense of the word — he channeled the sublime.”
This is one Met exhibit worth waiting in line for.