The dark, wonderfully obscure icon that treated fashion as a stage for the theatre in his mind, Alexander McQueen was a storyteller like no other. Design enthusiast, spectator or speculator, the intricacy of his designs was something to marvel, sometimes filled with beauty, other times, terror, yet remarkable – always.
One of the most significant fashion designers of the late twentieth century, McQueen’s critically acclaimed collections synthesised his proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with encyclopaedic and autobiographical visual references that spanned time, geography, media and technology. And soon, they will be available to behold at the National Gallery of Victoria, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse will offer an unprecedented insight into the mind of the seminal designer, with collections including some of his most acclaimed and controversial: Highland Rape (autumn-winter 1995-1996) and Widows of Culloden (autumn-winter 2006-2007) – both taking inspiration from McQueen’s ancestry and Scottish history. The exhibition also features commissioned headpieces by Los Angeles-based artist and designer, Michael Schmidt, as well as garments originally owned by McQueen’s muses Isabella Blow and Annabelle Neilson.
“Alexander McQueen is beloved for his boundary-pushing and highly conceptual designs that set him apart from his contemporaries. With meticulous craftmanship and an intellectual rigour seldom seen on the runways before or since, he created a new vocabulary for fashion design that still resonates today.”
Tony Ellwood AM, NGV Director.
“Alexander McQueen is beloved for his boundary-pushing and highly conceptual designs that set him apart from his contemporaries. With meticulous craftmanship and an intellectual rigour seldom seen on the runways before or since, he created a new vocabulary for fashion design that still resonates today,” says Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV.
“Comprising more than 100 garments, this showstopping exhibition unites the collections of the LACMA and the NGV for the very first time and celebrates the timeless work of this twentieth century fashion icon.”
The exhibition will explore McQueen’s oeuvre across four themes. Mythos takes us through mythological and religious belief systems incorporating references to diverse cultures and art-historical moments. Evolution and Existence examines McQueen’s fascination with life cycles and the human condition, and Technique and Innovation demonstrates McQueen’s masterful abilities in garment construction and approach to the female form. Lastly, Dangerous Bodies features some of the earliest McQueen works, including works from Banshee (autumn-winter 1994) and The Hunger (spring-summer 1996) which speak to his penchant for savage cutting and ideas of eroticism and empowerment.
Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse will be on display from December 11th 2022 – April 16th 2023 at NGV.