Friday, May 6, 2011

McQueen Masks

Alexander McQueen once said "Life to me is a bit of a [Brothers] Grimm fairy tale". A gothic fairy tale was what came to mind when I toured the retrospective of McQueen's work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art  on Monday.

Intensifying this dark mood are the unusual masks fitted to many of the mannequins on display. Constructed out of linen, leather, lace and a variety of other materials, these masks custom made by artist Guido Palau added a haunting and ghostly aura to the show.

Mask by Guido for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Met
Mask by Guido for Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
McQueen often incorporated masks into his runway shows himself. The first incarnation thereof was a fencing mask worn with a liquid metallic floor-length gown shown in the McQueen spring/summer 1995 collection shown in London.  He revisited masks and face coverings many times over the span of his career, including in fall/winter 2009 when he designed a chain-mail long-sleeved top  and built-in face mask that was worn underneath an evening gown in an avant-garde graphic print.

The Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition is now open to the public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and runs until July 31, 2011. In my review for Fashion Projects, I explain why this exhibition is cutting edge in presentation of fashion as art. To read that review, visit Fashion Projects at or click here.