"Is it Paris?"
With those three words, I won 2 tickets to attend Alexander McQueen's S/S 2010 fashion show in Paris!
I really couldn't believe my luck, and set about trying to figure out if it was possible I could go. Sure, I could take the time off work, but could I afford it? I'd have to pay for 2 fares (mine and my daughter's) and I'm already going to Paris in November for Paris Photo... but could I afford not to go?
Getting an invite to an event like this was like getting an invite from a prince saying that there was a ball happening! And there was no way I was letting any ugly stepsisters keep me away!
We took the Eurostar Tuesday morning and arrived at the hotel later in the day desperate to settle in. Once I checked in, we were presented with 2 big pink envelopes with our names on them. The invites had arrived! Ever so carefully, we opened them in our room and oohed & ahhed over how beautiful they were. Tonight was going to be special indeed!
We got to the venue about 8 pm. Not really knowing how fashion shows worked, I thought it best to get there early. Besides, we could do a bit of people watching!
Once we got inside and found our seats we realised it was a mistake not to have brought a drink. there was no place to get even a drink of water! Thankfully, a very kind woman in front on me shared hers with me!
The show started about 9-ish, and since you have probably all seen it on the website I won't go into detail. I didn't know where to look first! The shoes!! The clothes!! The hair!! I knew the show would be dramatic, but i didn't expect a story, yet that is exactly what I got from watching the show. This was a collaboration between Alexander McQueen and photographer Nick Knight, who you may remember for his work in i-D and The Face magazine in the 1980s (you might even have a CD or two he did the cover for!) and who now owns SHOWstudio.com, "an award-winning fashion website." I felt the futuristic paranoia of the robotic cameras (Britain is "surveillance society" with about one CCTV camera for every 14 people) as they invaded the stage and privacy of the expressionless models. The light of nature came from the clothes, which pumped and breathed as if alive. The clothes were a new hope, that even when we have destroyed everything, nature will find a way.
It seemed like it was over too soon, and as soon as our hero darted across the stage, everyone piled out!
So after spending a day in Paris, a day back at work, and an exhibition opening party at the Tate Modern, do i feel it was worth it?
I hope you enjoy the photos!
~*~ Barbara has a BA in Editorial Photography from University of Brighton, and is currently pursuing a Photography MA in the same place. Her work has been included in exhibitions in Brighton, London, Barcelona, Majorca, and New York City, and used for live recording CDs officially released to fans by Ryan Adams and The Cardinals. Her work is featured on the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts website Barbara Taylor, which shows her series titled "Beds". You can follow her on Twitter here: @girlb
From Idee Fixe: Thank you so much Barbara for offering us your personal view of the McQueen/ Paris Fashion Week mystique!
Barbara had graciously offered me her other ticket, and I scrambled my brain trying to figure out the logistics of getting to Paris for a few days. In the end I couldn't arrange to be there due to cost and more importantly childcare issues. However, being one of the hundreds of thousands of people watching this historic and exciting event streaming live by SHOWstudio was even more thrilling for me knowing that Barbara was there!
Regular readers of this blog will probably have guessed that Alexander McQueen is one of my all-time favourite designers. I've followed his career from the beginning, saving old issues of i-D, The Face, and more mainstream periodicals that had his innovative designs featured. The S/S 2010 collection was another imaginative and artistic entry, with him once again enticing us with his innovative designs and fabrics!
For me, being able to watch the show live in its entirety gave me a better sense of cohesion than I would normally get from a collection. The beginning with the opening sequence of Raquel Zimmerman writhing salaciously with snakes on sand, then moving on to the gargantuan robotic arms with cameras, and the subsequent images projected onto the stage, I could not only feel a story unveiling but actually see and experience it!
The show conjured images of the earth and sea, each new piece coming down the runway adding another dimension; culminating in a watery Atlantean sea-alien quality. (The theme for this show was "Plato's Atlantis".) The fabric prints were remarkable mixtures of snake, insects (I definitely saw moths in some prints), Rorschach ink blots, and metallics. At points you could see how the prints and designs coordinated perfectly with the background film projected on stage seeming to disappear into the screen! They blended so perfectly, matching up with each seam, pleat, and ruffle that you'll find it hard to believe that the print wasn't superimposed over a finished garment! The dresses looked fluidly structural to me, reminding me of soft waves that managed to maintain a shape without collapsing. I'm positively craving the blues of the sea with accents of porpoise grey -- no mean feat considering I usually disdain blue with a passion instead always choosing the green options!
Some other highlights for me were the skinny trousers and tailored jackets, the latter of which is always a perennial McQueen favourite of mine. There were also a few interesting dresses that looked to me like they were made of latex, and an incredible dress and jacket combo where the jacket seemed to swirl around the body, hugging the curves. (Ah, again I drool over McQueen jackets!) Oh and those insanely creative shoes -- to me they looked like hooves or lobster claws, my fav style being the sea-alien green carved looking shoes! 10 inches high... you definitely would have a fall from grace if you took one misstep! (Let's see Steve Madden try and do a rip-off of these. Um, no.) The other-worldly hair (giant braided and sculptured "horns") and makeup (prosthetic pieces on the cheekbones creating what looked gill-like, pale skin, and two-tone nails adding to the sea-alien look) styling added the finishing touches.
Thank you so much to Alexander McQueen and Nick Knight for giving the public a taste of high fashion!
If you missed the show when it aired (so many users online at the same time caused the servers to crash) you can still catch it here: Plato's Atlantis. There you will also find the 30 minute interview Nick Knight did with Alexander McQueen that preceded the show. Another must-see!