This past Monday, I not only met (and blogged about) E! star Giuliana Rancic, but also virtually visited a second style star, Alexander McQueen. His style retrospective at the Met is a must see for any style-obsessed fan like me and I was thrilled to finally pay a visit. Might I also add that this exhibit was just impeccably planned – and premiered on May 2nd, only days after Kate Middleton donned his label’s design for the Royal Wedding.
Coincedence? Or perhaps some fated divine intervention? No matter the reason, the world may never understand why Lee took his life last year, but it was high time they glimpsed McQueen’s body of work and ponder what really made him tick. Bravo, Met staffers for effectively representing the depth and breadth of his varied collections, while also capturing the darkness that plagued his personal life and spilled into his work.
**Full disclosure**: I’ve always been a huge fan of McQueen’s work and was in awe of his artistry. However, I did feel that his collections were so editorial with little that a “real woman” could wear or even attempt to translate into something every day. And the first few exhibit pieces definitely reflected those feelings: dresses made entirely from razor clam shells, microscope slides or feathers? I don’t think so!
But, cut to a few more displays in and, like the Royal Wedding gown, this dress literally took my breath away:
Photo credit: Vogue, January 2003
This was titled “Oyster dress” from McQueen’s Spring 2003 collection. The bottom half of the dress is just layers and layers of tulle, various other flowy, ethereal fabrics and all with raw, unfinished edges. Amazing!
Follow my train of thought here for a second: while this is certainly not a dress for everyday wear, I instead saw so much of this dress in this season’s current styles. You can’t push a hanger down the rack these days without noticing raw hems and edges, typically on wispy fabrics.
I am absolutely loving this look as of late – and ironically, I picked up a few similarly crafted pieces as part of my summer stock-up. My two favorites are the Banana Republic dress from my “Summer Sale Top 5” column last week and a gorgeous top from Kohl’s Simply Vera by Vera Wang line. Each piece was a steal, looks fantastic on and I feel will extend far beyond this season’s looks. Remember darlings, fashion is fleeting, style is eternal!
Here are the two looks on the hanger:
Dress: Banana Republic, Summer 2011 Collection
Top: Simply Vera by Vera Wang for Kohl's
And below is the Banana dress in action. I’ve been itching to wear this new purchase, so it made the trek to Fire Island for our Friday night dinner at the Mermaid. I paired it with a great pair of sparkly earrings from my travels (also featured in a past column), but had to make a last minute footwear switcheroo. Originally slated were the Kathryn Amberleigh sandals that apparently drive men wild. : ) I wanted to further test this theory on the men of Fire Island, but unfortunately, the weather gods had other plans. Torrential rainstorms hit which flooded our streets that evening, so the sandals had to be swapped for my trusty Havaianas. Thankfully, it’s only June.
Now, one last treat before I close. McQueen has worked his divine intervention yet again, dear readers. As I began penning this column earlier today, my daily RueLaLa alert hit my inbox. One of today’s featured brands? McQ by Alexander McQueen! Coincedence? I think not.
Most of the looks sold out in minutes, but click here for the last few pieces available for purchase: https://www.ruelala.com/event/32902
In closing, if you get the chance, do make time to visit the McQueen exhibit, which closes on August 7th. But whether or not you do visit, always be on the lookout for style inspiration in the unlikeliest of places - it truly exists where you'd least expect it to. Mr. McQueen, Lesson learned!