Long Live the McQueen

February 11th, 2010

His Butterfly Gown

Only 40! One of the greatest living surrealist artists took his final bow this week. Baroque intricacy, intractable textures, dematerialized bodies, cyborg reconstitution…

…animal morphosis, bestial gesture, and anarchic irreverence: these are just a few ways to describe the legacy of Alexander McQueen.

His designs are indispensable and iconic; hence, the Met Museum even collects his work. This blog doesn’t usually care about fashion, with its culture of transiet disposability. But with McQueen, you could trace a lineage of art history that accomodates a fashion designer as visionary, clever, flamboyant, and hyperbolic as he was: El Greco, Girodet, Falero, Whistler, Duchamp, Ernst, Dalí…

Lynda Benglis

…Burne-Jones, Moreau, Klein, Warhol, Bontecou, Serra, Benglis, Chapman Brothers, Wim Delvoye, and now Urs Fischer and Sterling Ruby. I guess maybe Kehinde Wiley, but we seek a taut, frozen rope legacy.

Suit, 1997; Oyster Dress, 2003 in the Met Collection

Maybe the untimely suicide adds to the legend, though no suicide is worth the “Behind the Music” introspection. What would McQueen have done in the next ten years? Continue to make millions as a corporate Creative Director? Or would he get restless and bored with that? I always hoped he would design Opera sets, or maybe make a magical movie.

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