Wed. March 7
Does Alexander McQueen Hate Women?
The Alexander McQueen show at Paris Fashion Week featured this little number:
The dress is spectacular, no doubt. Very feminine, lush, and sensual. But there are two things here that nonetheless bother me. In fact, they are leitmotifs in McQueen designs that have always rubbed me the wrong way.
First of all, notice how the model’s arms are trapped in what must be the unusually deep pockets of the dress. The message, which you see time and again in the McQueen label, is clear: the design (and, hence, designer) dominates the woman. Rather than complementing the beauty and femininity of the models, the outfits distort and even annihilate those womanly qualities. The most eye-catching McQueen designs make women look like crustaceous insects, high-tech machines, aliens, or even monsters (as in the middle image directly below). Here are starker examples of what I’m talking about.
The women barely look human:
Second, going back to the original design, what is up with the eye-wear? The weird futuristic visors are typical McQueen, always covering women up, particularly their faces. He is always hiding them beneath layer after layer of roughly textured material, like here:
A person’s face–and particularly, her eyes–communicate so much about who she is. They can give away how she’s feeling–if she’s sad, happy, anxious, angry, lying, distressed, etc–and they put us in touch with her personality and charisma. More, as people age, their personalities start literally sculpting themselves onto their faces. Have you ever noticed that? If a woman has a lot of crow’s-feet wrinkles around her eyes, which are caused by smiling, it’s probably safe to conclude that she’s had a happy life. People who have had hard lives look hardened and weary. People who are depressed have droopy eyes and downcast mouths. Our faces and eyes are deeply meaningful windows into our selves. But McQueen disregards that, running rough-shod over the emotions and attributes that make us human. That’s why McQueen designs look so alien, monstrous, and insect-like.
By contrast, look at this Oscar de la Renta piece, which I first saw as an ad in the latest issue of Vogue.
The dainty shoes, the lacy top, the billowing skirt, the sultry and confident model–they come together to create an absolutely spectacular work of art. De la Renta’s designs are beautiful. McQueen’s are fraught with pain and violence–disturbing and anti-woman. I’ll take de la Renta any day.