Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crop Circles and Vampires

Sav·age: fierce, ferocious, or cruel; untamed

Alexander McQueen was not limited in creativity; his designs knew no limits. Isn't that the way we should live our lives?

If he wanted a dress decorated with fresh and silk flowers he designed it.

If he wanted antlers as the headpiece to complete the look of a gorgeous cream gown, he made it or had it made (most often by Phillip Treacy).

He was not afraid to push the boundaries of fashion and actually create new and innovative designs. His runway shows did not often provide something ready-to-wear, but they did give the viewer drama, extravagance and spectacle. Fashion is all of those things. If the wearer chooses well, the clothes merely enhance the persona or mystique. McQueen had a penchant for fantasy, rebellion and shock value, all of which are visible at Savage Garden, the new exhibit showcasing his work now on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Costume Institute.

There were two quotes of McQueen's that stuck with me as I walked through the exhibit. I was trying to stay in the moment and be present in front of each piece so I did not write them down. One was about loving the grotesque and the other was about making people look.

We as creative artists have to make people look. We have to make them see. We have to make them read or listen. There is beauty in everything, even the grotesque.

I felt euphoric as I walked through the exhibit. It was stunning in its design, both visual and sound. Every room was created to help you visually and aurally experience the clothing it housed – from the eerily mysterious to the Scottish plaid to the romantic to the dramatically over-the-top.

Alexander McQueen was limited in his life. He was a tortured soul, as many creative types tend to be. He committed suicide by hanging himself on February 11, 2010. A life cut short by demons that nothing could heal, brilliance taken from the world of fashion way too soon.

We only have now. We are here for this brief time; this one moment that in a blink is over. We have to dare to be different and have the courage to be so.

As I approach 40 I am overwhelmed by the desire to create something moving, lasting, emotional.

As for the title of this blog, I was walking to the subway with my friend Sara. We passed a small yard with concrete circles filled inside by circles of grass. Sara yelled out, "Crop circle." We laughed. As we continued to walk we passed what appeared to be a stake in the road. I made a comment about vampires. Sara said "Crop circles and vampires, it's gonna be an adventure."

Fashion is always an adventure. Daring fashion even more so. Alexander McQueen dared. He may be gone from this world, but his contribution to fashion lives on to show the world what it had and what it lost.

Crop circles and vampires are each savage and beautiful in their own way. They go together about as much as plaid, tulle and a bustle. If you get the chance to see McQueens’s use of those three things you’ll get to see how awesome an unexpected combination can really be.

Beau·ty: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.) or a meaningful design or pattern.