Last Saturday I visited the wonderfully imaginative Alexander McQueen Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it was worth every minute of the three hour long wait. The classically timeless collection of works by the revolutionary designer was absolutely fascinating. His mysteriously genius creations expressed such a vast vocabulary of creative expression, welcoming you into his world of fantasy, dreams, horror and beauty. The designer's disturbingly dark yet brilliantly beautiful garments honor centuries of victims, vixens and queens. McQueen's obsession with exposing the ugliest elements of humanity are brought to light on elegantly feminine forms. The romantically tragic poetry of Edgar Allen Poe narrates the surreal world of dream-like visions. The winding gallery spaces were completely transformed into a capsule of McQueen's mind, enticing visitors with the welcoming words, "I am going to take you on journeys you've never dreamed were possible."
Traveling through the galleries of magical imagination was an incredible experience. I explored an intimate maze of rooms with rusted mirrors, reflecting fabric masterpieces from every angle and beyond. I was particularly drawn to the 2008 collection "The Girl Who Lived in the Tree." McQueen found inspiration for these sculptural, organically embellished garments on his trip to India as well as an ancient elm tree in his garden. The collection features feathery flowing skirts with peacock embroideries made of Jem Palace Jewels, painstakingly sewn beadwork, and layers of leathers, feathers and lace. McQueen tells the tale of a girl who lives in a tree but emerges from its leafy oppression to discover the warmth of love and sunshine . Her newfound freedom manifests the mood of the designer, who embraces the light after an extended dark period in his life.
In 2010, I created a series of Tree House drawings, featuring a young girl suspended in voluntary solitude from the world. She is seemingly lonely and melancholy from the outside, but finding only stillness and peace within. She lives high above the world in a tree house perched on pointed wooden legs entwined in ropes and vines. Surrounded by empty bird cages, blank canvases and silence she experiences an evolution of emotional growth. The moment she feels whole again she would reenter the world, leaving her meditative healing state behind. I have been incorporating this theme back into my work with birdcages, tree houses and botanical, living organisms. My work continues to evolve and grow as I embark on this journey of visual discovery.
Photo of runway show found on: http://www.fawngehweiler.com/blog