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Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse

  • Art, Textiles
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Miracle Mile
  1. Lee Alexander McQueen
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  2. Lee Alexander McQueen
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  3. Lee Alexander McQueen
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  4. Lee Alexander McQueen
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  5. Lee Alexander McQueen
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  6. Lee Alexander McQueen
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
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Time Out says

LACMA looks to the myriad cultural inspirations behind more than 70 of Alexander McQueen’s conceptually and aesthetically imaginative dresses.

There are two things you should probably know before you step inside of the first West Coast exhibition centered on the late, innovative fashion designer: None of the headpieces are designed by McQueen, and we don’t actually know if any of the complementary works of art on display directly inspired him.

If you read the wall text when you first walk into the gallery you’d already know that, but let’s be real: Many visitors are here to beeline it to some extraordinarily-constructed dresses and jackets from McQueen’s aughts collections, and those certainly don’t disappoint. Above all else, “Mind, Mythos, Muse” demonstrates how the young designer’s creations could spin up such imaginative narratives from thread. (Fun and enviable fact: All of the dresses come from one person, Regina J. Drucker, who gifted her high-fashion collection to the museum.) To hone in on those themes, the exhibition examines the influences of mythology, nature and McQueen’s Scottish heritage, as well as appreciates his masterly, historically-informed technique.

Just about each look is paired with some piece of historical inspiration, whether a Renaissance vase, a 16th-century Flemish print or a colorful piece of French textile, or more contemporary sources like a Picasso print, Robert Mapplethorpe portrait or a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. In some cases, centuries-old outfits (differentiated by the gray headpieces atop their mannequins) are situated next to McQueen designs. You can certainly see how each of the pieces might have influenced or informed McQueen’s work, but since we simply don’t know for sure things sometimes feel more like a mood board than a concrete connection. Then there’s the addition of local designer Michael Schmidt’s dramatic headpieces—attractive, fanciful knits and crowns that clearly fit the McQueen mold and, as the museum tells it, complete the circle of influence, but further blur the focus.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

Details

Address:
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles
90036
Price:
Included in museum admission ($20)

Dates and times

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