Each year in the beginning of May, celebrities, designers, models, and editors delicately step out of town cars onto the steps of the Met for the annual Costume Institute Gala – an evening of celebration, breathtaking gowns, and picture perfect moments at the museum.
But the evening’s festivities are only a small portion of the entire event, as preparations begin months before. A new theme for the Costume Institute exhibit is chosen yearly (depending on cultural situations and circumstances,) designers pair up with their guests to create elaborate outfits for the fete, and editors plan their publications content around the evening’s experience.
This year, as a tribute to the late and much celebrated designer, Alexander McQueen, and the cultural statement he left on the world, the 2011 Costume Institute Gala culled together the exhibit as a dedication to his work. “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” takes over the Met from May 4 – July 31 and will feature designs ranging through his 19 year career, from his postgraduate collection for Central Saint Martins in 1992 to his final creations which were displayed in February 2010 after his death. Over 100 of his pieces and 70 accessories will be on display to share just a taste of the brilliant designer’s influence in the fashion industry, complete with his exaggerated silhouettes and innovative vision. “Alexander McQueen was best known for his astonishing and extravagant runway presentations, which were given dramatic scenarios and narrative structures that suggested avant-garde installation and performance art,” said Andrew Bolton, the curator of The Costume Institute. “His fashions were an outlet for his emotions, an expression of the deepest, often darkest, aspects of his imagination. He was a true romantic in the Byronic sense of the word – he channeled the sublime.”
Though surely difficult to narrow down the selection into just 170 items, Alexander McQueen’s tribute will be divided into six categories including “The Romantic Mind,” “Romantic Gothic,” “Romantic Nationalism,” “Romantic Exoticism,” “Romantic Primitivism,” and “Romantic Naturalism” as a way to touch on the variety of inspiration he brought to life through his designs. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 4—July 31, 2011 to experience “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty.”