Paris Fashion Week: Alexander McQueen’s final masterpieces
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In a solemn presentation held in a gilded salon, 15 masterpieces by the late Lee Alexander McQueen were presented Tuesday. Each one was hand cut on a dress form by the British designer, who committed suicide last month, and each one was more breathtaking than the next. The pieces were so full of religious iconography, including angels and virgins, that one imagines McQueen was having thoughts of death while he was creating them.
Inspired by Byzantine art, the carvings of Grinling Gibbons, and old masters such as Botticelli and Hieronymus Bosch, the clothes were designed to be the runway showstoppers. Entire works of art, or just small details, were captured digitally, woven into jacquards or engineered to fit individual garments. A red satin dress with an organ-pleated skirt had intricate gold embroidery, bringing to mind the ironwork on a rood screen in a church. Another dress, in a vintage gold brocade, was worn with a bib necklace and cuff bracelets made of stained glass. Shoes had hand-carved and gilded heels depicting tangled ivy, acorns and skulls, or were jewel-encrusted with hand-carved angel sculpted heels.
A draped and folded jacket and trousers were digitally printed with a work of art depicting angels. A column gown, softly draped in back, turned the model into a living temple, with the image of two hands reaching toward one another over the heart.
On another gown, two female figures, virgins perhaps, were printed on either side of the bodice. The pleats of their robes became one with the pleats of the gown.
But the final look was the most eerie, a gilded feather shroud with an embroidered white tulle skirt peeking out from underneath.
It’s hard to imagine how so much beauty came from so much pain. Hopefully somehow, somewhere, McQueen has finally found peace.
-- Booth Moore, reporting from Paris