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Thursday, March 12, 2009
It's A Pretty Fierce Way To Go.
What does one wear to witness the end of the world as we know it? Alexander McQueen says grab a soda can, some Saran Wrap, a tube of red lipstick, and an effing phenomenal gown and look glam while waiting for the darkness to come.
I mean it is obvious that there is something ending, right? We are in flux, in change so utterly impending that we can't do much of anything other than take stock of what we have and hope for the best. I think Alexander McQueen's genius bit of fashion theater in Paris this week was less an ode to the obvious recycling of the old, than it was a hint that you better brush off the stuff you've got and make it new. With shopping slowing it may be a long time before we each see new again. Not buying? Well, you know those pants you loved last season? Undo a seam and flip them 'round for a new dress. The gown your Grams rocked in the Dior days? Tar and feather it, make it different and more or less what you've always wanted. Start using what you have. If you're McQueen that means the invaluable, innate overabundant creativity you were blessed with. His skills are deity-like. His craft never takes a backseat to his ideas, it is always, always the other way around. And, when your ideas are as loaded and layered and brilliant as McQueen's are, craft that speaks louder than it all is something to behold. It is risky of McQueen to show a collection celebrating the re-hash. Or rather it could be risky, but McQueen holds the cards. He's got the skill to make an undone/redone dress look spectacular. This isn't the crafty recycling you can DIY.
The inflatable doll-like lips, confining corsetry, and constricting ensembles in the collection had some of the show's audience crying misogyny. I say put down the inflammatory responses, people. Women are tied and bound and shoved and pushed into even the easiest looking fashions. We are tucked, sucked, tweezed, plucked, shaved, and done-up regularly without comment. It happens all the time. Tale as old as time. McQueen is not the aggressor here, he's the re-hasher, the commentator. Don't you see his reuse of the old? He's quoting. He's making a point of it. He doesn't really want to torture you. He wants to make you his brand of pretty. It might hurt a little, but what doesn't? At least you'll be well dressed for the end of the world party he's throwing. When the lights go out, you won't feel a thing anyway. Fin de siecle. End of story. If anyone can die a pretty death, it's McQueen. And he'll figure out how to rise again out of the ashes of his past. Prettily.