SAVAGE BEAUTY MADE MY WEEK

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Highlight of the week for TheEye was unquestionably Savage Beauty,  at the V & A.
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The Alexander McQueen retrospective started life at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC in 2011 where it broke all records for a museum fashion show. Now at the V & A curated by Claire Wilcox whose aim, she says,  ‘is to catch this febrile fashion moment – the craft, the spectacle, multi layered references, the theatricality – and the assessment of a fashion designer’s life’.
A life tragically cut short far too young   – Alexander (Lee) McQueen committed suicide,  aged 40.
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Alexander (Lee) McQueen was  an artist of extraordinary vision. A raw, wild, creative spirit whose influences ranged from art  (he was part of the YBA group which emerged from Goldsmith’s College in the early ’90’s,  promoted by the patronage of Charles Saatchi), tribalism – a fervent Scottish nationalist, passionate about his heritage (he used the McQueen tartan to create outfits that evoked traditional Scottish costume for his 2006, Widows of Culloden collection). References which included history and film are all evident in his designs.
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His couture collections were always full of the unexpected – surprises, even shock, in his choice of materials and techniques ( razor clam shells, mud, pheasant feathers, flowers and so much more).   Exquisite embroidery and rich, sumptuous fabrics.
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His  couture garments combined  craft and showmanship with technology,  Kate Moss as a hologram is ethereal and  moving, reminiscent of the work of world renowned video artist Bill Viola . He believed in freedom of thought and expression, evident from his CSM Degree show in 1993 based on the theme of  victims of Jack the Ripper (‘there’s blood beneath every layer of skin’ he said) .
McQueen’s explained  the dark side of  his personality, which got the better of him in the end, saying  “I oscillate between life and death, happiness, sadness, good and evil ‘ and perverseness,  ‘I don’t think I’m like the average person on the street.  I think quite perversely sometimes’.
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A brilliant tailor, his cutting and constructions were innovative and revolutionary – ‘I spent a long time learning how to construct clothes which was important to do before you deconstruct them.”  tailoring was something he perfected during his time as Creative Director at Givenchy (although few examples are shown in the exhibition – something of an oversight in such a comprehensive show).
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My favourite room was the Cabinet of Curiosity focusing on atavistic and fetishistic paraphernalia in collaboration with designers such as milliner Philip Treacy and jeweller Shaun Leane.
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McQueen commented, ‘As a designer you go through every nook and cranny to find inspiration.’
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SAVAGE BEAUTY is a serious and thought provoking  show leaving you grieving at why this  uniquely  talented  artist took his life at such a young age.
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TheEye was thrilled to make it to the last night of ‘CLOSER‘, at The Donmar Warehouse.
A faultless production – from Patrick Marber’s  brilliant writing , to the superlative acting of Rufus Sewell, Oliver Chris, Rachel Redford  and Nancy Carroll, directed by David Leveaux). Magnificent team work and fabulous theatre. The Donmar always gets things right, and if only they had more ladies loos, it would be perfect.
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Rufus Sewell and Rachel Redford

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Oliver Chris and Nancy Carroll

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VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE AT THE GATE
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Mark Strong as Eddie Carbone with other members of the cast.

It’s a bit strange watching theatre on a cinema screen, but TheEye was desperate to see View From the Bridge, Arthur Miller‘s Greek tragedy-inspired drama about Eddie Carbone, the Italian/American longshoreman jealously fixated with his niece, Catherine. Ivo van Hove‘s production which transferred from the Young Vic left TheEye as shattered emotionally as the characters. Mark Strong as Eddie is mesmerising and the other actors are equally impressive.
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It might not be the same experience as seeing it on the stage, but I was very pleased I didn’t miss this thrilling production which ends on Saturday.
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HOT TIP
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Anyone who wants to see Farinelli and The King with Mark Rylance, and not yet bought tickets needs to get their skates on.
The play opens in September for a 12 week run and already almost sold out. Based on the story of  King Philippe V of Spain, whose insomnia and depression (clearly a bundle of fun)  could only be cured by the unique voice of Farinelli, a famous castrato.
Philippe was cured but Farinelli didn’t get much thanks for his trouble.
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1 Comments

  1. Wonderfully eclectic site with spot on commentary. A must have read for anyone interested in the Arts.

    Thanks for the introduction, Jan

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