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18 June 2015

The Mind of McQueen

Written by: Alice Johnston, Account Executive at Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight, Culture, Entertainment

Here at Edelman, we’re always encouraged to be curious about the world around us. In the team I work in, we’ve taken to calling it ‘Feeding Your Mind’, and what better way to do it than with a step inside the brilliant and often disturbing brain of the late legendary designer Alexander McQueen?

His Savage Beauty exhibition began its journey in 2011 at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following its success, it was expanded and relocated to the city in which McQueen learned his craft: London.

From entrance, I found myself spellbound by the mind and work of McQueen. I wandered from room to room, seduced by the emotions of each one. Every design was a work of art, crafted with the exquisite detail McQueen learnt in his youth. But it was the underlying sense of menace behind the materials that was truly astonishing.

McQueen focused his energy on being suggestive, cruel and, in some cases, repulsive. “I want people to be afraid of the women I dress” is one of his most famous quotes. He often took inspiration from animals or films – Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Birds” in particular. This aggressive, animalistic undertone certainly weaved its way into many of his designs.

After a journey through McQueen’s early tailoring days, I found myself in the heart of the exhibition: a gallery named “Cabinet of Curiosities” and surely the perfect place to feed one’s mind. It didn’t disappoint. Inside, a thrilling arrangement of catwalk accessories brought to life McQueen’s controversial and complicated talent. The combination of flashing TV screens and lavish garments fascinated spectators and I stood transfixed by beauty.

McQueen’s forward-thinking mind-set allowed him to differentiate himself from other 21st century British designers. For example, he famously designed from the side, the worst angle of the body, in order for his creations to work from a 360 degree perspective. This inventiveness was all around me as I made my way through the exhibition towards a grand finale that displayed one of McQueen’s most memorable catwalk moments. An ethereal hologram of Kate Moss, gently spinning and accompanied by a haunting sound system.

On leaving the exhibition, speech seemed impossible. I stumbled into daylight, dazed, bewildered and inspired. It’s fair to say my own mind had been well and truly fed…by experiencing the incredible mind of McQueen. Don’t miss it!

For more details about the exhibition, click here.

Image: Installation view of ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ gallery
Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A, 2015
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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