I wrote this piece about McQueen early this year as a review for THE PATRIOT PRESS (The College of Central Florida's student newspaper). Just wanted to re-post it in memory, if you were a fan of McQueen please take a moment to take a look.
Runway, not reality
Designers like Alexander McQueen use clothing as art
Published: Sunday, January 17, 2010
Updated: Sunday, January 17, 2010 18:01
There is a fine line between genius and insanity, and it is one that British designer, Alexander McQueen, tight rope walks every season in the fashion industry.
With concepts conjured up from the corners of a mind that most people would find absurd, McQueen conveys these thoughts in a surreal presentation transforming the bewildering to breathtaking.
No stranger to the avant-garde style of design, some past collections from this designer have been inspired by everything from birds, to skulls and even clowns. McQueen’s spring/summer 2010 line-up is a prime example of his twisted artistry and out-of-the-box ideas.
This season’s muse: Plato’s Atlantis. Models floated down the runway in looks reminiscent of sea monsters and reptiles.
Dresses and suits made of fabric similar to shark skin were cut away to expose views of flowing watercolors, and 10-inch heels were encrusted in bubbly sequins. Hair styles mimicked dorsal fins, and the models faces were altered with prosthetic alien-esque pieces on the brow and cheekbones.
Although these styles may not be wearable by everyone (or anyone in some cases), there is more to the fashion industry than plain old functionality. Which is an important point to novice style-watchers and something that I feel is often misunderstood by the on-lookers of the fashion industry.
The looks showcased on the runways are not meant to be taken literally, especially in McQueen's case. I doubt that he intends to see women traipsing around imitating sea creatures and extraterrestrials.
Rather, it has more to do with a trickle-down theory. The trends are exaggerated for the sake of showmanship on the stage, and it is up to the individual’s personal style sense to interpret these styles and make them practical.
Also, McQueen and many other designers often use their art to communicate more than just the recent trends to the audience.
In a recent press release, it was stated that “McQueen was casting an apocalyptic forecast of the future ecological meltdown of the world. Humankind is made up of creatures that evolved from the sea, and we may be heading back to an underwater future as the ice cap dissolves.”
Just as dance, theater and fine arts contribute to culture and society, fashion, as crazy as it may seem is just as equal as a contributor. There is so much more to fashion than what meets the eye. It runs much deeper than aesthetics and materialism.
So the next time you are flipping through a fashion magazine, and start thinking of words like “crazy”, “insanity”, or “madness”, consider instead “brilliance”, “masterpiece” or “expression”.