My trip to New York in 2011 had to include a trip to the Museum of the American Indian, and since I shared Savage Beauty from the Met I thought I’d also share this equally fascinating (if not moreso due to my personal connection) permanent exhibition. I’ve always been obsessed with Native Indian culture possibly because I know they were the original people of my mother islands, the Caribbean. Theres a possibility that I have Native ancestry as do a significant number of islanders, so whilst most Native Indians on my land of sunshine were sadly almost completely wiped out, their spirit is mainly being kept alive by their somewhat diluted blood running through the veins of the very mixed up population. I was lucky enough to see Native Indian tribes living in the traditional way as their ancestors did, when I lived in Brazil so I jumped at the opportunity to learn even more about their mysterious culture which is still very much alive in parts of South and North America. Even after visiting the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, which includes pieces from the the islands, I didn’t find enough information to conclude how their influence can be seen in the modern day Caribbean, though I am now inclined to research further. It was still a stunning collection with artefacts dating back to the 15th century (probably before, it was a while ago). I also couldn’t help but get excited by the clothes and jewelry, but they provoked poignant reflection when thinking of the hardship that led to some of the people who wore them to become almost extinct and also the hardship of the people who replaced them- my main African ancestors. They were beautiful nonetheless as was the entire museum.
As a fellow East Londoner (he was raised in Stratford before the Olympics were even thought of), its no surprise that Alexander McQueen was one of the realest people if not THE realest person in fashion. He was never one to hold his tongue or waterdown his often controversial opinions and even went as far as dissing Armani and Versace. Fortunately unlike most people Lee Alexander was one of the few people who could get away with such critique due to his immense level of talent. Am not one to usually listen to hype but Alexanders’ legendary status in the fashion industry is definitely not down to a clever PR strategy – his PR probably spent a lot of time dealing with crisis communications! He was a true innovator, pioneer and whilst he often shocked I believe he was genuinely expressing his complex mind rather than aiming to get attention grabbing headlines. He is definitely the only high profile fashion designer to use a double amputee on the runway, Aimee Mullins, and then refuse to invite Victoria Beckham to the show lest she detract attention from the Paralympian. This decision secures his position as one of my fashion heroes. So I was lucky enough to be in New York at the time of the exhibition, Savage Beauty, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011. It was two years ago, but as the name of this blog suggests I have moments where I like to take my time and reflect before acting. Plus I’d like to share the snaps I took with my readers instead of simply going over them from time to time in my own little moments of admiration. I also found some snaps of some my fave Mc Queen catwalk shows and his crazy armadillo shoes. At a time when I’m facing my own personal loss I can imagine how hard it is for his friends and family to have lost such a strong character. May his spirit continually live on through his creations. RIP.
To get a glimpse into the real character of the one and only Lee Alexander McQueen I reccommend reading these precious interviews with his mother on the Guardian; http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2004/apr/20/guesteditors , and with David Bowie in Dazed and Confused; http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2004/apr/20/guesteditors .