While the show has received lots of press, nothing will prepare you for seeing the exhibition live. The designs, displays, sets and staging are awe-inspiring, and the Met worked closely with the team that handles McQueen’s theatrical runway shows. Piped in music fills the various themed rooms, from the eerily ethereal to dramatic orchestral.
McQueen played with polar opposites—life/death, lightness/darkness, predator/prey and man/machine—and these dichotomies portray the inner mind of McQueen, who tragically took his own life last year.
Some accents are built into the apparel, such as taxidermy crocodile heads and animal horns, but there are plenty of stand-alone accessories to astound, all housed in a separate room. The area is set up like a Victorian “cabinet of curiosities” celebrating the macabre.
The accessories on display were used in his runway shows and in many cases there are video loops showing models wearing them on the catwalk.
- A metal spine corset (complete with tail), that models wore over their dresses
- A coiled corset inspired by African neckpieces and created by jeweler Shaune Leane.
- A signature minaudiere boxed clutch lets the wearer slide through her fingers into affixed rings.
- Carved wooden prosthetic boots
- A headpiece made from pheasant feathers painted to resemble a tangle of red butterflies
- Angel wings carved out of balsa wood
- The famed armadillo shoe from his final collection and other alien-like footwear
Want to take a piece of the exhibition home with you? There’s always this armadillo shoe ornament, selling at the gift store.
One caveat: The show is always crowded, so get there early!
For a more comprehensive view of the offerings on display, click here.