Desire and Dread: Alexander McQueen and the Contemporary Femme Fatal

My mind is racing and I have so many thoughts about this chapter.

Before I read the text…

This chapter is all about Alexander McQueen.  I knew that he was British, pushed the limits in fashion, held mind-blowing runway shows, and is no longer with us.  Yes, spoiler alert – Lee Alexander McQueen tragically ended his own life a few days before Valentines Day in 2010.  Shortly after I got word of this, I went out and got McQueen for Puma sneakers and a McQ tank top, both were very expensive but I felt that was the closest I’d ever get to him now that he’s gone.  I’ve never worn either and probably won’t either.  They serve as my tribute to one of the greatest fashion designers I had the pleasure of following during my lifetime.  My ultimate (fantasy) goal was to work with/for him during my fashion career, unfortunately that will never happen.

The Alexander McQueen for Puma shoes I have and will NEVER wear…

After I read the text…

McQueen is known for his runway shows yet I never realized the inspiration for his collections because he featured “semi-naked brutalized women” (Entwistle and Wilson 184).  His shows were even described as “aggressive and disturbing” (Entwistle and Wilson 184).  What these critics failed to understand was, McQueen took an interest in history and explored it through his clothes, which made it harsh and painful to watch at times.  One of his most criticized shows was during 1995 and was called Highland Rape.  What do you think the show is about just by judging the name?  Let’s dissect it… Highland refers to an area in Scotland, the Scottish Highlands.  Rape ::ugh:: (such an ugly word) to violate or to take away.  Now lets put this together…The Highland was raped!  The public did not make this connection and took it to literal.  I mean you can’t really blame the public when the models look like they’ve just been battered.  My point is, he took historical events and incorporated them into his runway shows.  Whether the public approved or not it made a statement.

Pieces from Alexander McQueens 1995 show “Highland Rape”…

People are interested in seeing something different.  Alexander McQueen is to fashion as Frida Kahlo is to painting.  They didn’t always make things that were beautiful but it made sense to them.  In art this is referred to as surrealism.  But then again who wants to wants to create normal clothes or normal art?  Only 75% (give or take) of the designers or artists but that goes to show you how many of them are well known.  Being different and taking risks is what Alexander McQueen was known for.  Even though he is no longer here we have access to his runway shows on YouTube, his bibliography and his everlasting impact on fashion to hold onto.  Thank you Alexander McQueen.

Lee Alexander McQueen: March 17, 1969 – February 11, 2010

The collections I fell in love with…

McQueens take on houndstooth…

These shoes are meant to be framed not worn. They are exquisite!

What McQueen looks like now…

Lastly, Lady Gaga even wears McQueen in this video!


One thought on “Desire and Dread: Alexander McQueen and the Contemporary Femme Fatal

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