Fan and all as I am of Ms Moss’s style, the much reported hologram of her in the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition seemed in fact a bit of a let down once you got to it.
It paled, literally and figuratively speaking into insignificance once one had done the rounds of the rest of his fierce and fantastical work.
“I met him a couple of times” I said to my friend B. “The first was a Q & A he did either here or at the ICA in the early Nineties. I remember it so clearly because I was wearing a pale green coloured moleskin suit I’d designed made-to-measure, and it was its first outing. It was at the time when he was frequently lambasted in the press for being ‘Misogynistic.’”
“As he stood before me and we shook hands, I asked him what he thought about all that. He went immediately on the defensive and seemed to think I was insulting him, whereas really I was genuinely interested to understand where he came from. ‘Look at you in your Hermès suit!’ he retorted and marched on with his entourage, muttering to himself.”
We stood before five or six mannequins, staring straight ahead, rigid in pose wearing pieces from his ‘Highland Rape’ collection. The clothes embodied beauty, tragedy and the highly sensitive nature of their creator; clothes that clearly illustrated his modus operandi: ‘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.’
B was already moving on but I stood mesmerised by the sheer genius of the work, unable to tear myself away. I thought about women and what they wear. ‘I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress’ read another one of his quotes.
You couldn’t argue that he had succeeded there. Room after room was filled with intricately and inventively cut clothes clearly sending out the message: ‘Take me seriously.’ The sheer beauty of the embellished, the extreme romance, skill and enchantment within each garment was breathtaking. A tear formed in my eye.
Through the catacomb-like room: ‘It’s all made out of horror, isn’t it’ I overheard one woman say to another, I wandered on to find B in the extraordinary double-height ‘cabinet of curiosities’ space.
“When was the second time you met?” B asked.
“Well, I didn’t speak to him that time, but it was at one of my favourite beach bars in Ibiza – late 90’s sometime. He was just sitting there at a table, in full sunlight, gazing directly ahead. I remember noticing how clear and green his eyes were – just like the sea he was looking at.”