The Man Who Found Beauty in Everything

Sunday, July 31, 2011
Bonjour, everyone, I hope the summer is treating you well!
I promised you all an inside peek into the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, so here we go! Keep in mind that this will mainly be a photo post, with some appropriate words from the one and only, Mr. McQueen.
Quotes and some photographs belong to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Outside the Met, Dress: Urban Outfitters, Ballet Flats: Elie Tahari, Tote: Longchamp, Studded Headband: Tasha Accessories.

The entrance to the exhibit, which played with the idea of "polarized opposites, whether it’s to do with life or death, lightness or darkness, predator/prey, man/machine." -Andrew Bolton.  The blood red dress on the left made of dyed ostrich feathers and hand painted medical slides is one of my favorite McQueen dresses (s/s 2001 "Voss").

"I am a Romantic Schizophrenic." -Alexander McQueen

The Romantic Mind 

“You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.”—Alexander McQueen

Inspired by McQueen's first atelier in Hoxton Square, the Romantic Mind showcases works from collections such as Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims and Highland Rape. It also features the "Bumster" skirt, one of his most controversial and famous pieces.

Romantic Gothic

“People find my things sometimes aggressive. But I don’t see it as aggressive. I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality.”—Alexander McQueen

Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher." Mcquuen often reffered to himself as the Edgar Allen Poe of Fashion, which is shown in his obsession with darkness, death, and the afterlife. 

Cabinet of Curiosities

“I . . . like the accessory for its sadomasochistic aspect.” -Alexander McQueen

Filled with accessories from McQueen's various collaborations with people such as Philip Treacy and jeweler Shaun Leane, this room also contains dresses from the s/s 2005 show "It's Only A Game," and the performance art piece that is the cotton spray painted dress from s/s 1999, "No. 13."

A close up shot of the dress. 

Romantic Nationalism

“The reason I’m patriotic about Scotland is because I think it’s been dealt a really hard hand. It’s marketed the world over as . . . haggis . . . bagpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it.”—Alexander McQueen

This room exercised pieces from McQueen's most nationalistic collections, "Highland Rape" (f/w 1995-96), "The Widows of Culloden" (f/w 2006-07), and "The Girl Who Lived in the Tree" (f/w 2008-09). The clothing shown is very extravagant, but this was actually a subtle mockery of the British royalty that he grew up with.

Romantic Exoticism

“I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes. . . . That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers.”—Alexander McQueen

Looks from the collections "Voss" and "It's Only A Game."

Romantic Primitivism

“I try to push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking of how we look. What I do is look at ancient African tribes, and the way they dress. The rituals of how they dress. . . . There’s a lot of tribalism in the collections.”—Alexander McQueen

Romantic Naturalism

“I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.”—Alexander McQueen

Inspired by Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, "Plato's Atlantis" was one of McQueen's most controversial shows, with one model refusing to walk the runway in the 10-inch "Jellyfish Armadillo" boot, shown above.

The man was a dark genius, there really is no other way to describe it. Until next time!

Christina Anne

Savage Beauty

Saturday, July 9, 2011
Everyone knows the tragic story of Lee Alexander McQueen. Born on March 17, 1969 in London, the son of a taxi driver and a schoolteacher, and a fashion designer from when he was a child. He was a brilliant designer, the man who made models pass out from too-tight corsets, drop out of shows once presented with his 10 inch Plato's Atlantis heels, and the man who made a holographic Kate Moss appear floating in a glass pyramid as part of his fall/winter 2006 show The Widows of Culloden.

The Widows of Culloden show

Kate Moss wearing the dress once again for a Harper's Bazaar UK Edition Cover

McQueen was the ultimate icon, and through his clothing he created an unbelieveable theatric, fantastic substitute for what we mere mortals call reality. He introduced the McQueen tartan, dressed musical icons such as Bjork and Lady Gaga, and his now tragically beautiful designs will never be forgotten. To assist in his perpetual immortality, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition called Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. Why is this important now? Because thanks to my lovely grandmother, I'm going to see a private tour.

Alexander McQueen dresses from the f/w 2010 Angels and Demons collection

The exhibit has been reviewed as incredible, and follows McQueen's work from his work at Givenchy through his untimely suicide in February of 2010. The collection begins with 'The Romantic Mind" and culminates with "Romantic Naturalism." But hey, we'll just find out more come Wednesday with a post on the exhibit.

A few final words: he was the self proclaimed "Edgar Aleen Poe" of fashion, nicknamed the "l'enfant terrible" and "the hooligan of English fashion." The creater of the "bumster", the "manta" dress (voted one of the top ten dresses of the decade), and the now covetable skull motif, he created true rebellion in fashion.

McQueen's "Manta" dress on Camilla Belle

All hail Alexander McQueen.

Christina Anne

Baby You're A Firework

Monday, July 4, 2011
"You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July..."

Although I have to imagine that most of us don't "feel like plastic bags", I did love to hear Katy Perry's "Firework" playing during the fireworks display that I saw tonight. It also made me think of a t-shirt from Limited Too (later dubbed "Justice," remember, when it was still cool) that I wore every fourth of july. It was bright red, and had the Limited Too puppies on it. On the front, it had the puppies holding a flag and wearing blue t-shirts. The caption: Independence Day. On the back, it showed the backs of the puppies while they were watching fireworks, and their shirts spelled out USA. The caption: Independence Night.

While by this year my style has matured a bit and I decided to swap the LTD2 tee for a blue sundress and a red headband, I've always loved patriot fashions. So here, I present to you the nails I designed for the occasion, which are actual fireworks. Ms. Perry would be proud. 

Some Fourth of July Nail Art, by Christina Anne

Independence Day

Independence Night

Happy Fourth Everyone!

Christina Anne

The "McDonald's Theory"

Saturday, July 2, 2011
Hello again! I'm back with some brand new posts, but this one takes a little sidebar from style, and brings us more to the economics and marketing side of fashion. Don't worry though, I've got a fun nail oriented surprise for you tomorrow!

It's no secret that China's economy is growing rapidly, in fact, it is now the second largest economy in the world, lagging only behind the great United States. Recently, I had the incredible fortune of traveling to China, and what I saw fashion wise really surprised me. The typical pattern of luxury retail in cities like New York is destination, or the idea that the coty has one, maybe two stores in the entire city. Going to one of the stores is a "destination," basically you have to plan on stopping buy and buying things. In Beijing and Hong Kong, where I was, this is not the case.

Louis Vuitton at The Peninsula Arcade

There, luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Burberry, or Cartier operate using a plan I have nicknamed the McDonald's Theory. Instead of having one location, they have like five, so you don't plan on buying a two thousand dollar Chanel bag, you just happen to bump into a boutique while you're out and drop two grand, like it's no big deal. 

The Peninsula Beijing

The hotel I stayed at in Beijing, The Peninsula, really epitomized this with its three story luxury shopping mall known as "The Peninsula Arcade." It features stores like Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gianfranco Ferre, Cartier, Bvlgari, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Calvin Klein, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lanvin, and even a Tom Ford store that opened during my stay there.  It reallyjust proves how different the people's approach to luxury is, country by country.  

The Peninsula Arcade, with the Piaget store and the Tiffany & Co. store in the background

Truly a fashionistas gaming room, no?
More tomorrow, hope you're all having a fabulous summer!

Christina Anne