LACMA'S PREMIER LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN EXHIBITION
A JUXTAPOSITION OF ART AND FASHION
By Kaleigh Werner
Titled “Mind, Mythos, Muse”, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has curated a collection of donated Lee Alexander McQueen designs and paired them with the art décor, textiles, sculptures, cultural inspiration, etc. that catalyzed his work. Previous exhibits featuring McQueen’s work have only been in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the London Victoria & Albert Museum, which makes this one the first on the West Coast.
His pursuit of a career in design began at the age of 16 as McQueen took an apprenticeship on Mayfair’s Savile Row in London, the center for menswear tailoring. Thirty-six transcendent collections later, McQueen’s influence surpasses that of just a typical designer and has bled into how society looks at issues of misogyny and identity, as well as the use of technology in fashion and the development of costume creation.
LACMA curators Clarissa Esguerra and Michaela Hansen have taken 70 designs from the largest donation of completed looks over 16 years and placed them with 200 objects from the museums own collection. The donation was a gift from Regina L. Drucker, a collector based in Los Angeles. From dresses to shoes and hats, McQueen’s innovative legacy and creative process will be echoed, while featuring items belonging to McQueen’s well-known muse Isabella Blow.
The exhibit will be divided into four themes, Mythos, Fashioned Narratives, Technique and Innovation and Evolution and Existence. Mythos is a representation of his designs that were influenced by belief systems relating to mythology, as well as varying religions. Fashioned Narratives dives into the ability of McQueen to fuse existing events or traditions with his own imagination just like he did with ‘Scanners’ 2003 Fall/Winter collection. The collection is a silent narration of a journey from Tibet to Japan using Tibetan textiles to emphasize the evolution of the fabrics across different countries.
“We have a dress from his autumn 2003 ‘Scanners’ collection in a silver and black geometric pattern, which we realized is a Tibetan Kati Rimo silk brocade.…We have at the museum two Tibetan trunks as well as Buddhist priest robes with the same pattern, so not only can we illustrate the historic precedent, but also the narrative of the collection,” said Curator Hansen.
Next, Technique and Innovation puts in context McQueen’s design background reconstructing garments with his tendency to use costume structure from eras like the Enlightenment to the age of Jazz. His skillful manner of utilizing laser-cutting technology and digital printing is shown in this portion as well. Finally, Evolution and Existence explores the designer’s obsession with the cycle of human life and processes of regeneration in his early collections such as The Dance of the Twisted Bull, all the way to his last Plato’s Atlantis.
“We’re so fortunate that LACMA’s collection allows us to illustrate these connections across time, geography, and media. Mind, Mythos, Muse is a beautiful example of how LACMA
curators are sharing new perspectives on art history with the public...,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director.
The exhibit will be open from April 24th through October 9th.