Alexander McQueen May 4–August 7, 2011

Savage Beauty

In your words: Fashion is art.

Friends of the Met responded to the question: When did you first realize that fashion is an art form? Take a moment to read the responses, then feel free to answer the question in your own words.

  1. In 2000, I visited New York for the first time.  It was an amazing experience that I will never forget.  Being from Vancouver Canada, new York was a completely different ship.  One day I met Isaac Mizrahi and I have never been so excited.  That same day, I toured the Metropolitan Museum for the first time.  In the basement was the first collection of Fashion as art.  in there was a beautiful rose covered dress by Mizrahi.  I thought I had never seen anything so exquisitely made.  It was at that moment, I realized fashion was as much an art form as painting, sculpture or photography.  I think that McQueen took it to a whole new level and really pushed the corners of the envelope of “”what is fashion.  Gone were the days of “I would wear that” and now is the time to sit up and take notice of this brilliant brilliant man.

    - Ferrie John

  2. Alexander McQueen’s soul was present in that space.

    We were fortunate, we only waited for 30 minutes. Even so, I questioned whether the wait was worthwhile….

    I knew very little about McQueen’s work before I walked in to this exhibit. I also knew, at the moment that I entered, that this was going to be completely different from any museum experience I had ever had. It was entirely visual. I deliberately avoided reading the placards.

    This was fine art, with fashion as its instrument. I wept while walking past the Widows of Culloden. I have cried once before in a museum, while standing in front of Vermeer’s “Little Street”.

    Alexander McQueen’s soul was there in his work.

    - Eileen Burns

  3. When I was the first Gallery director at SCAD in Savannah, Georgia, one of the painting  professors wore an early Donna Karan design to one of my opening receptions. That was in 1980, and even though I had been into creating fashion design since I was 14 or 15 years old, I never really thought of it as “”art”“. It was a separate thing altogether, a fun way to develop my painting skills, but nothing to be taken too seriously.
    Seeing that gorgeous Donna Karan creation changed everything and made me realize that fashion is indeed a legitimate form of fine art. I’ve been following the designers, shows and trends ever since and I continue to be amazed by the artistic talent and ingenuity of today’s fashion artists. The whole art form just seems to get more creative and exciting every year.
    As a footnote, I ended up creating collages out of all those old watercolor and tempera fashion designs that I painted as a youngster and had a very successful showing of them several years later.

    - Norman Blackwell

Alexander McQueen (British, 1969–2010)
Dress, Sarabande, spring/summer 2007
Courtesy of Alexander McQueen
Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce

The exhibition is made possible by Alexander McQueen™.
Additional support is provided in partnership with American Express and Condé Nast.

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