Second draft research paper
Jul 30h, 2012
“Creativity is a very fragile thing, and Lee was very fragile,” said the milliner Philip Treacy, who had worked with Alexander McQueen. McQueen, a British genius fashion designer creating a large amount of provocative works in last two decades, committed a suicide because of the suicide of Isabella Blow and the loss of his mother, who were two important supporters of his design (Wilson 89). The “Spine” Corset, the Skull Scarf, and the "Bumster" skirt are the representative of the collections of his provocative and dark romantic beauty. McQueen always indicated the dark and deathly elements in his collections, critiqued “inanity” of the fashion world and expressed his personal life reflections in fashion design. He was the chief designer of Givenchy between 1996 and 2001 and earned British Designer of the Year awards four times(1996,1997,2001 and 2003) (Wilson 89).
In terms of McQueen’s intricate tailoring and provocative design styles, McQueen was significantly influenced by Gilbert Adrian, and Elsa Schiaparelli in the aesthetic aspect; Charles Frederick Worth had processing influences on McQueen's. Adrian and Schiaparelli were fashion designers prevalent around 1930s and 19040s and Worth was popular in in early 19th century. In McQueen’s collections, he applies Gothic Romance with pure black and complex lace ornamentations. His collections focus on the expression of his feelings and moods; it can be scary, disgusting, and romantic. McQueen is like a poet who uses clothing to write his poetry. His runways can always make viewers think, but not just enjoy the visual elements of clothes. Suzy Menkes says of McQueen’s works, “Distasteful images? But it’s a reflection of our nasty world. And a powerful fashion designer always ingests the ether of modern times.” (Bolton 12). To me, McQueen’s runway shows are more like drama to convey McQueen’s savage and animalist beauty and death philosophy for fashion. In McQueen’s work, he indicates orientalism, classicism and English eccentrics, but also shows many clues for the future of fashion. As Eric Wilson said in 2010, “As designers have done for centuries, Mr. McQueen altered the shape of the body using corsetry and anatomically corrects breastplates as a recurring motif. More recently, his work took on increasingly futuristic tones, with designs that combined soft draping with molding, or ones in which a dress seemed to morph into a coat. At his last show, in October, the models wore platform shoes that looked like the hulls of ships.” (Wilson 1). According to the interview with Andrew Bolton, author of "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty", Bolton offers clues of designers affecting McQueen’s aesthetic. Bolton says, “In terms of tailoring, McQueen was most influenced by designers whose technical acumen mirrored his own, designers such as Gilbert Adrian and Elsa Schiaparelli." (Interview 1). After I saw Schiaparelli fashion exhibition, I found many direct Schiaparelli design concepts' influences on Alexander McQueen's contemporary collections. Schiaparelli invented culottes, wrapped turbans, Arab breeches, embroidered shirts, pompom-brimmed hats, and barbaric belts ( Smith 1). I think her Skeleton, Lobster, and Tear Dresses have the most obvious influences on McQueen's fashion design, where he also employs a lot of animal elements to express a kind of savage and original beauty. As McQueen himself explains, “Nature was the greatest, or at least the most enduring, influence upon me. Everything I do is connected to nature in one way or another; Nature was also a central theme, if not the central theme, of romanticism.” (Bolton 15). Take two similar fashion designs from Schiaparelli and McQueen, The Skeleton Dress (Fig 1) and “Spine” Corset (Fig 2). Obviously, in both works, two artists utilize a "backbone" as a key element in their works. They both look scary and...