Alexander McQueen vs. Van Gogh

19 May

I love living in Denver. The weather is hard to beat, the work-life balance is ideal, and the mountains have been calling my name since the first time I caught a glimpse. I tell you this to set the scene for what I’m about to say: On May 4, 2011, I really really wished I lived in New York City… just so I could drop into the Met’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit on opening day.

As it turns out, I wouldn’t have been able to get in that day anyway because the McQueen exhibit nearly broke the record for the largest audience on opening day in the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (not just the Costume Institute!). The 5,100-person crowd is succeeded only by Van Gogh (who garnered just 300 more visitors). You can catch a glimpse of some of the famed designs on display at

McQueen (whose fashion house recently landed in the spotlight for designing Catherine Middleton’s wedding gown) dropped out of school at 16 to pursue design. His work quickly gained the attention of editors and style icons and he established himself with “dramatic, gorgeously constructed pieces, combining elements of British tailoring and French couture” (source). I’m not exactly sure what all that means, but I am irresistibly drawn to the way he pulled a uniquely feminine shape out of sharp angles and dramatic long, deep lines. What genius!

Tragically, McQueen committed suicide in February 2010 (you can read more about that here). But his legacy continues today through the work of his still thriving house of high fashion in London. Click here to view a Pintrest board of some of McQueen’s signature looks.

And, if you’re in NYC anytime this summer, be sure to stop into the exhibit, which is open until July 31, 2011.

Update 4/20/2011: “They’re drunk with fashion!”

Bill Cunningham is covering the fashion show on the steps of the Met as people come and go from the exhibit. (Special thanks to reader Anne Marie for sharing this in the comments below. I just had to add it to the post.) See Cunningham’s video coverage here.


One Response to “Alexander McQueen vs. Van Gogh”

  1. Anne Marie May 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Looks like the McQueen style is making its way outside the Met too! Bill Cunningham shot an On The Street column on the steps of the exhibit:

    Here’s the video:

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