Alexander McQueen, Ensemble, Plato's Atlantis, 2010.

New York

“Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
May 4–July 31

Curated by Andrew Bolton

Considering the eloquent bravura of Alexander McQueen’s creations—the concoctions of horns and feathers, the slick-sleazy “bumsters,” the sybaritic “VOSS” collection—it’s no surprise that the designer redefined the runway as a stage for high-concept theatrics. From the robotic arms that fired paint at a whirling Shalom Harlow and her white dress (on the spring/summer 1999 catwalk) to “Deliverance,” a 2004 masterpiece of pageantry choreographed by Michael Clark and inspired by Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), McQueen knew how to make a show a show. His was an art of the body wearing and worn, under siege and subjection—a Discipline and Punish aesthetic. How is it that the clothes lived up to their spectacular display? Look for revelations among the one hundred ensembles collected for this posthumous retrospective. “He was a true poet,” André Leon Talley reflected after the designer’s suicide in 2010. “He was the Rimbaud of couture.”