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On seeing the Tim Burton show at LACMA this past weekend, I was struck with 2 more items for creative success.
1 Point of view – artistically, you need a distinct voice
2 Practice

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Attending the Metropolitan Musuem of Art’s retrospective for Alexander McQueen was my way to pay homage to the most recent artist to touch my heart. I made the cross-country pilgrimage because I sensed the show would provide inspiration. I was thrilled to be squished among the crowd of visitors on the show’s opening day; particularly in the central Cabinet of Curiosities where you almost could not move. My fascination with McQueen’s fashion designs is that they reach the sublime heights of angels’ voices while alternating with the darkness of nightmares but the result from either energy is to raise clothing to art form.

The main takeaways from the museum show are that McQueen had four qualities that made him successful as both artist and fashion designer:

  1. Technique
  2. Concept
  3. Detail
  4. Showmanship

Without those four capabilities or at least ability to delegate some to other capable hands, you would not be a great success in creative endeavor.

The following are some standout pieces from the museum show that illustrate McQueen’s talents. Most of the photos were found on the Metropolitan Museum’s blog.

Technique

Jacket, Joan

This jacket from McQueen's autumn/winter 1998-1999 shows precision in tailoring.

Dress, Plato's Atlantis Spring/Summer 2010

This dress shows a combination of form-fitted tailoring with playful cutting.

Concept

Dress, Horn of Plenty Autumn/Winter 2009-2010

This dress of painted duck feathers exagerrates the model's form but accentuates a small waist and wide hips.

Dress, VOSS Spring/Summer 2001

Composed of razor neck clam shells, McQueen repurposed the materials because they had lost their usefulness.

Oyster dress, Irere Spring/Summer 2003

The layers of silk organza and torn lace suggest vulnerability and age against opulence.

Detail

Dress, Eshu Autumn/Winter 2000-2001

Tiny glass beads create topographic texture against horse hair.

Dress, Girl Who Lived in a Tree Autumn/Winter 2008-2009

A fantasy princess dress with delicate jewel work along the bodice.

Showmanship

The Metropolitan Museum has provided many runway clips on it’s blog. I’ll refer to a few highlighted video titles.

  • Number 13, Spring/Summer 1999
  • Widows of Culloden, autumn/winter 2006-7
  • It’s Only a Game, spring/summer 2005

Also the Exhibit overview video towards the bottom of the page provides a broad scope of the exhibit. Finally, if you are unable to visit the exhibit but love McQueen, here is a link to order the exhibit catalogue. (I am not affiliated with the McQueen brand but admire his artistry)

Lee McQueen

Lee McQueen, bless his soul