July 22, 2011 § 3 Comments
Come one, come all! We have Real, Yes, that’s right ladies and, well, Ladies, Real Alexander McQueen Patterns! Cleverly hidden, step right up and let Pattern Vault show you the 8th wonder of the world!
From the title of this post I can tell that you are super excited, and you should be. So, they are not straight from London, but I think that they are just about as close as I am going to get.
Last Monday a fellow blogger discovered Project-Hallway.com, and in sharing her/his/there posted a comment, through which I could follow to their own blog on WordPress. PatternVault (real name, identity, gender … everything … still unknown) shares some similar passions, from fabulous Toronto—I seem to have a fair number of followers from this fair region, hooray!—also recently made the voyage to The Met in NYC for McQueen. Only two posts so far in the blog, both focused on McQueen, I have learned something new, and very wonderful.
Back in the day when McQueen was at Givenchy, Vogue patterns published a small number of patterns from the Givenchy line/runway. I HIGHLY doubt that they are identical to the pattern pieces that McQueen created—unlike the one on ShowStudio, shown at the end of this post—but I think that they are as close as I am going to get. With an excellent opportunity to learn I whatever these patterns have to offer, I have located and purchased the few that I could find from Etsy and Ebay, and I am keeping my eyes peeled for the others.
After ordering on Monday afternoon, I have already received this one, which I already have fabric I could use for it.
So, then the question is, do I:
I have these two on the way:
And I am absolutely freaking dying to find one of these patterns …
So excited that I received the information and the insight on these patterns, I recommend reading through Pattern Vault’s blog, nice insight, and so far two great posts on McQueen:
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 1
- Alexander McQueen for Givenchy: Vogue Patterns, Part 2
Trina also pointed me at this McQueen pattern, which is AUTHENTIC from McQueen. I really need to pop this file over to
Kinko’s Fedex Office.
May 25, 2011 § 8 Comments
After returning from spending a fabulous and very busy week in New York, and making two trips to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I am finally able to find the energy to muse over my adventure, and what an adventure it was. I’ll start with the McQueen bits, and come around to the other bits later.
The first McQueen stop was the boutique in the Meatpacking district. Ramon was too intimidated to go in, but my sister went in with me, and ogled with her eyes, while I groped with my paws.
The second McQueen stop, though, not known at the time, was MOOD on 37th, between 7th and 8th, right around the corner from Parsons, the New School where they film a little show you may have heard about. Three floors of heaven, I quickly became overwhelmed, but stayed for another 45 minutes, my mind, and heart racing. I learned that they still had a few yards of Alexander McQueen silk charmeuse, one of the ones that was out at MOOD in Los Angeles when I went last year. My sister once told me the story of a friend of hers, who went into a two-story Target and found herself, who knows how many hours later, walking around the second floor with a cart full of items. Having no recollection of what the items were, why she had them, or why she needed them, she called her husband for help. His response? “Just back away from the cart … ” I was having one of those moments at Mood. I had to make a trip on Friday to actually purchase fabric. I did buy the McQueen fabric. I think that should go without saying.
And next there was The Met. Closed on Monday, we opted out on Tuesday, as we got off to a late start by trying to get up early, walking 2 miles to Bouchon Bakery for known good coffee—terribly hard to find.
We inadvertently wound up sitting right outside the filming for the Today Show. We walked the two miles back in the rain, then feeling a bit under the weather, needing a nap, we decided to wait on The Met, as it was already noon, and heading off to the New York Public Library—OMG, fucking amazing artifacts on display here—and so Ramon and I went to The Met first thing on Wednesday morning, not long after it opened, before the throngs of locals and tourists would be flooding the gates to avoid the sheeting rain later in the afternoon.
Before the rain, and the crowds, with my Audio Tour in hand/over ear—best $7 spent on the entire trip, other than the admission to the museum—I spent about 3 hours in the exhibit, taking my time in front of each and every piece, sketching, staring, and listening. So many things to think about and so many things learned. Tid-bits and interesting facts interspersed throughout, but in such a way that by the end you actually feel like you could have known him. As if he was the one holding your hand, walking you down the garden path the entire time, and the things you didn’t know you were just too blind to see, because it all became so clear, it is all right in front of you.
Even though I saw countless others taking pictures the entire time, I did my best to remain respectful, but I do shamefully admit that I snapped one—very bad—iPhone picture at the very end of the Gallery. Because my picture really shows, well, nothing, I feel I am not hurting The Met or the Savage Beauty exhibit by posting it, especially because my entire post is so pro go-to-nyc-to-see-this-exhibit-RIGHT-NOW-as-it-is-quite-possibly-the-most-amazing-work-of-modern-art-that-will-be-on-view-to-the-public-for-decades-to-come.
I feel like I am seeing much more of the big picture, which really means that I am asking a lot more questions. I have always looked at McQueen as an artist, who’s medium was garments and fashion, but I now understand that this is much, much deeper than I initially believed. Part of me wonders if he even wanted to create “fashion” at all—fashion that participates in style as opposed to a message, a deeper meaning, something personal, political, loved or feared. I have even started thinking a lot more about other designers, and their goals, as well. McQueen’s work was so personal, and imbued with stories and messages. While at The Met and also at the boutique I read that McQueen wanted the women who wore his garments to feel powerful, a thought from him that I truly feel when I wear something that he created, and often opt for those garments when I need to courage or the power on that particular day. Throughout the exhibit I also heard and read that he didn’t have a specific muse for any of his collections, rather that he imagined powerful women during a time period, but not one woman specifically. Which makes me honestly doubt that he was ever designing for a “specific market,” but creating stories through garments and presentation that women wanted to adopt into their own world as extensions of themselves.
On the way back out airline had Satellite TV, and I started watching a show about a Norwegian base jumper, Karina Hollekim. Fascinating individual, extremely unique personality. An only child with a difficult childhood—a father who didn’t want children, and a mother with a brain injury—she spent all of her free time raising her adrenaline. After thousands of jumps, in 2006 she experienced a parachute failure during a standard skydive, and hit the ground at over 100 km/h. Not only did she survive, but defied the doctors when they said she’d never walk again. In the an interview she says, “It’s ironic how I’ve spent decades of my life trying to be someone special, and now, suddenly, all I want is to be normal.”
I honestly feel like I can say I share some of this feeling, that I have always wanted to be someone special. Going to New York, The Met, and seeing McQueen’s work, I realize that he was a very unique, special breed, and maybe he even shared this feeling. Haunted by his own character, living and breathing only for his work, utterly talented in his craft, and an amazing storyteller, we all know that he was his own demise. And so, maybe it is ok to be “normal,” but this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try like hell to be my best. Who knows the stories in my mind yet untold.
Last year, about this time, someone asked me what I wanted to do with my career and also my life. I remember responding, though I spoke without thinking. My own voice sounded otherworldly as it came from a place of truth, but still unknown to me, “I want to tell interesting stories.”
I will end with one final thought: To anyone thinking of going, spend the thousands of dollars it will cost, take out a loan if you have to, this museum special exhibition has changed my life, forever.
May 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
Today will be spent packing for our big trip to the Big Apple. And yesterday I turned in my final final project, all of which has been preventing me + my projects and, thus, blogging. Let me first say that I just absolutely cannot wait to get to NYC. I have my knitting project (almost) ready to go for the plane ride, as I also need to finish writing the pattern for it, and my sister and I have a boatload of activities to do once we get there, and I make my pilgrimage to Alexander McQueen, all centered around seeing Savage Beauty at the Met.
In all of the hustle and bustle over the great Met Gala on May 2nd, I have also learned that Daphne Guiness’s personal collection of McQueen couture is on display in various Barney’s windows, so we’ll be NEEDING to stop by those, as well. Here is her performance before The Met Gala, dressing in a 2011 Spring Alexander McQueen dress, by Sarah Burton:
Tickets for The Met have already been purchased, and I have been doing my research about the exhibit. So, it looks like photography isn’t allowed, but sketching is. Well, I turned in my Fashion Sketching final on Wednesday, and because I am a crazy over-achiever—not that anyone would have ever guessed that!—I did two. So, even though I have a four year art degree, I must admit that I have never, ever really liked drawing or sketching. I have always felt like it was a chore, and like I have always been bad at it. Currently, I am helping my mom how to crochet, and while this may seem like a departure from the topic, just bare with me. I am mostly helping her by trying to provide encouragement, telling her that it takes a lot of practice with working with the hook and the yarn, and so for a while it is frustrating. You can’t just be good at something right off the bat. And, that being said, you’re likely not not have a good time doing something, until after you get the hang of it, and the frustration subsides. Only after much practice can you sit down and enjoy the process. Well, looks like I need to listen to my own advice. Even though my teacher is the best, most engaging drawing teacher I have ever had (Suck on that AAU. Woo for community college!), and she is incredibly good at breaking down the steps and making them understandable and doable, it was still a lot of work for me to do the work, even though the workload was very reasonable. I have been working on the sketches and drawings for this class for 5 months, and I did still feel like it was a chore through the entire class, that is, until I started my second final. I actually started really enjoying the process, and getting into it, and—gasp—having fun! I am super excited to have broken through the barrier of just getting it done and feeling bad and and frustrated to feeling like I can actually do it. Granted, I still don’t feel like I am good at it, I do feel like I can get there. I would like to work more on developing my own style a bit more, and practicing with different textures. I’d also like to be more able to just sit down and draw without all of my tools which I still use like crutches, but, I have made it over the first hump! And, whew, in the nick of time. As photography is not allowed in special exhibitions at The Met, I am very excited that I’ll be able to—not just physically, but mentally, with my new, learned abilities—take my sketchbook and pencils and sketch while I am there.
While looking for information about the exhibit, I came across this great album on Flicker, published by The Met: Behind the Scenes – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. A few from the album:
Additionally, in doing my research, I have learned that the Catalog of the exhibit is for sale at the Met and the Met store online for $45 for non members, but it is also for sale on Amazon for $27. Exact same book … So, do I buy it there, and pay more but realize that I am also paying for the memory of the event and the experience, in addition to the ticket price, or do I order from Amazon, and look at it only when I return …
After that, the only question left to answer is: What will I wear to The Met? think that this provides an even greater dilemma …
January 17, 2011 § 5 Comments
Upon surfing through my Sunday NYTimes this morning, fully aware that I am a day late, I also realize that I am about two months behind on the news. On November 11th, 2010, the Met issued a press release about an upcoming exhibit: Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, May 4, 2011–July 31, 2011. How I could have missed this news baffled me, though it shouldn’t.
I don’t think I have been on my A game, for a while, and then upon hearing recent news, I think I’ve sort of fallen off the inspiration wagon.
My sister and I have talked a number of times about branding in fashion, most recently about the Spring 2011 McQueen collection, the first by Sarah Burton. Of course this collection was bound to be under great scrutiny. People wanted to know if Sarah Burton would be able to live up to and continue the vision, artistry, raw imagination, and workmanship of Lee Alexander McQueen. Her collection was recognized as meeting these goals, though, both my sister and myself felt it was a regurgitation of Lee’s ideas, and cleverly masked the insecurity of the line’s new designer in rich textiles, attention to detail and exquisite tailoring, also things we had seen before, but expect, as we should from the McQueen line. All this being said, I honestly feel that the line should have, well, been laid to rest in the wooden box alongside its visionary, creator, and proprietor. Never content with making fashion for fashion’s sake, his voice has changed in his death and he is now, merely, and sadly a brand. No longer art. It will be a long time before we see that much true creativity, artistry, vision and workmanship in fashion, and ultimately, modern art.
I am currently trudging my way through Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson. It’s not that it’s that bad, it’s just not that good. I found it at the library a week ago in the “bestseller” area, clearly, misfiled if you ask me. The author interjects his opinions in the weirdest places, I don’t think you were actually there buddy, so why tell just this one paragraph like you were, and all the others like your not. The flow is a bit catty-wham-pus for my taste, and it seems like the content could be written in such an exciting way, and it is just not. I just finished reading a section regarding the wardrobe and how Audrey, and Holly, made modern fashion accessible to all, not just the elite. But, I don’t know that she made fashion accessible, I think that she made specifically style, and the essence of chic accessible. I think that true fashion, and style are different things. Style can become a brand, but art can never be. Just look at what Andy Wharhol did with brands and he is still, and will always be seen as an artist.
The article in the NYTimes that indicated that I do, in-fact, live under a rock, and enlightened me to the upcoming McQueen exhibit at The MET, shared my opinion on fashion, brands and commodity as being, not one in the same. Apparently the brand Alexander McQueen can be sustained from creating one-off pieces for ladies with high bank rolls, dresses costing upwards of $30,000 each.
I am sick of seeing the LV insignia bags. I don’t want compromise in art or artistic vision for everyone to be able to buy something “authentic.” I wish there were more separation between fashion (art)—so little of it that there truly is—and “style.”
Appropriately featured, the Alexander McQueen exhibit will be opening May 4th and running through July 31st. Ironically, I received a promotion from Virgin America Airlines this morning, before learning of the exhibit, advertising fares through mid may from SFO to NYC for $139 (before taxes, fees, snacks and movies). So now comes the great question, do I fork over the $300, find a couch to surf on, grab the bull by its horns and fly out for one night for, perhaps, the only chance I will ever receive to see, in person, the amazing work of Alexander McQueen?
And if I do go, what do I wear?
Even though I drove 800 miles for real Alexander McQueen fabric, this, sadly, I think is outside of my budget …
Images in this post are from Vogue, July 2010, United States: A Noble Farewell for Alexander McQueen by Annie Leibovitz