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Whilst studying Art at secondary school, I became obsessed with hats. I had this vision of creating a crazy hat with vines holding up webs of petals and coloured silk butterflies.  It was an obsession that took over a large proportion of my time, and I was intent on making fascinators from cardboard, wire, paper, clay. It drove me a fraction insane if truth be told. I was finding paper mâché PVA under my nails for weeks.

The reason for setting the scene with this little piece of personal trivia is because the initial idea for a project that spanned 3 years of my time and effort all sprouted from seeing an image of the headdress pictured in the postcard above of a cluster of red butterflies. The master of hats himself Philip Treacy is to praise for this one in particular, and it ran in an Alexander McQueen show in 2008. Treacy was heavily influenced by Alexander's view on the natural world and worked with a lot of different natural materials during their time working together. Following seeing this exact image and learning of their collaboration, I delved deeper into the world of McQueen to gain ideas for my final piece - and in the process was introduced to some incredible artwork.

Alexander McQueen SS01, "Voss", Dazed Digital


His designs are almost the opposite of themselves. He uses man made textile against natural materials to create an overall look that is intricate and detailed, yet retains the rawness and wildness of nature that he is inspired by. He once said that he finds beauty in the grotesque, and I feel that this idea is woven throughout his work, which can be haunting and mad but also somehow holding a sense of tradition. 

Even to someone like myself who isn't an expert in fashion, his ingenuity planted a creative seed in my imagination - as well as many others I'm sure - which I think is a wonderful legacy to have. In the end my art teacher eventually told me to forget the idea of hats altogether for my final piece because my ideas wouldn't work out and that I needed to head down a different route to get my predicted grade. Quite right too - I ended up with an A grade for an incredibly underwhelming and insincere plastic jacket. I wonder what McQueen would have to say about that.

Alexander McQueen: Sarabande, S/s  2007, Paris.

The Savage Beauty exhibition currently on at the Victoria and Albert Museum is retrospective of his work over the span of his career, and it is breathtaking. I love that his work has this sense of female liberation - leather clad and studded outfits with black gloves and structured shoulders displayed alongside pastel and floral baby doll dresses. It oozes with the mindset that you can wear a biker outfit and look rock  & roll, and you can also throw on a pretty feminine dress and look just as hardcore. The pieces on display are accompanied by quotes of his, and I noted that he himself said “I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.”. What a refreshing  and wonderful perspective to hear coming from a top male designer. 

It's a very meaty exhibition as well, a lot to see and appreciate and in lots of different forms. My personal favourite section was the last segment of the exhibit, which I won't ruin for those who may still get the chance to go - but it's visually very impressive. I reckon he would be very proud of what has been created in his name in honour of his work. This post is going up a little late because I'm rubbish and preoccupied. The website states that tickets are sold out, but you can buy them on the door and entry is only £9 with a student card. I promise I'm not working on commission for the showcase! The V&A is one of my favourite museums and the exhibit is ending on 2 August 2015.I say get in while you can and thank me later.

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