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Arty Farty Friday: McQueen and I

This is the last Arty Farty Friday of September and I wanted to take the series of posts in another direction.

One of my graduation thesis papers was titled “Is Fashion Art?”.

To make a long story short, I summarized that, indeed it was, and when you look at collections produced by top designers, you can have no doubt.

I also included examples of how fashion and art collide, one inspiring the other, but that deserves its own post.

When I was at Fashion Design school I realised how hard it is to come up with a collection that fits trends, it sellable but original, one that is your voice but appeals to others.

It really is a terribly hard task (not to mention expensive) and as much as I enjoyed the process, I knew I’d never make fashion design my profession.

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I think it takes extraordinary talent and tailoring/construction skills to make something that is ground-breaking and beautiful.

When designing you feel like everything has already been done before and the few original ideas  you have (lego shoes anyone?) are beyond difficult to construct and make practical.

The world of fashion looks glamorous on the outside, but it really is all blood, sweat, and tears, tantrums and even the odd tiara.

The “it” designer at the time, the one all students looked up to in awe, was Alexander McQueen.

He was a visionary who combined theatricality with superb tailoring, a new voice in the stale world of fashion.

He had taken the catwalk show and had turned it into a performance.

I came across a 2011 documentary titled McQueen and I which follows the designer’s journey into the world of fashion, but which especially focuses on his muse and friend Isabella Blow.

Their relationship was both a burst of inspiration and creativity, but also one marred by depression and resentment.

Blow had an incredible eye for talent and would use her influence in the fashion world to launch new talent like McQueen or McDonald, but felt unappreciated when they’d inevitably move on.

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McQueen designed some of the most recognisable fashion pieces of our generation and I regret that the documentary doesn’t focus more on his creations, having said that we learn about his tumultuous private life and what would inspire his vision.

This is a tale of an incredibly talented and sensitive visionary who led a pace-paced life releasing 10 collections each year, but also about the pitfalls of fame and the pressure to constantly produce something that will outdo everything you’ve done before.

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