Sunday, August 7, 2011

Alexander McQueen | Tortured Beauty

Within the larger context of mythology, the story of the tortured artist is perhaps one of the more glorified.  Slivers of greatness enshrined by our voyeurism remind us just how delicate the human condition can be.  Does struggling for one's art make one a genius or does the struggle taint genius, crush it even, by the inevitable tragedy lurking within?

In the fashion world, the word "genius" gets tossed around a lot.  So much so in fact that I cringe every time I hear it and I'm quite sure hardly anyone knows how to identify the real deal.  Yet genius does exist and it should be reserved only for the type of brilliance that Alexander McQueen possessed.

McQueen was an incendiary talent who oozed molten lava and shot flames straight through the obsidian core of an industry that guts and deserts people as quickly as they clamour to praise them.

I saw "Savage Beauty" at the MET for the second time last week and I had one of those rare moments of lost time.  I thought I would pass through quickly on this go-around since I was with a large group of co-workers but instead I meandered; studying each seam, each choice the curators made of what to place next to what, the choices of music and clips from certain shows, the choice of manequins, the respect given to his collaborators who helped flesh out the story he wanted to tell.

The genius of McQueen was contagious: to those who worked with him, to those who put together the show, and for a brief moment, I think, made even the least creative spectator understand the heavy load he must have carried every moment of his life.  To possess such talent seems enviable from an outsider's perspective but I suspect there's a fine line between obeying one's deepest creative inclinations and succumbing to the dark caverns of one's mind...