Alexander McQueen (1969–2010) is one of the most original fashion designers in recent history. Celebrated for his conceptual and technical virtuosity, McQueen’s critically acclaimed collections synthesised his proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with visual references that spanned time, geography and media.
Showcasing more than 120 garments and accessories, Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse offers insight into McQueen’s far-reaching sources of inspiration, his creative processes and capacity for storytelling. Displayed alongside McQueen’s innovative designs are more than eighty artworks – spanning painting, sculpture, textiles, prints, photography and decorative arts – that help to illuminate the interdisciplinary impulse that defined his career. Drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – the exhibition reveals common themes and visual reference points that connect his practice with that of artists and designers throughout history. McQueen’s designs were always personal and complex responses to the world around him: he once stated, ‘Fashion is just the medium’. McQueen’s interests were broad and his inspirations both encyclopaedic and autobiographical: he was an avid reader of books on subjects that included, art, design, literature and history; a regular fixture in London’s queer club scene; a voracious consumer of cinema; and deeply passionate about the natural world. His love of fashion was evident from a young age, and was equally influenced by popular culture as by visits to museums. Throughout his career, McQueen distilled a multitude of ideas and experiences, bringing together seemingly disparate references to create collections that pushed far beyond the bounds of conventional fashion design.
Image: Installation view of The Widows of Culloden collection, autumn–winter 2006–07 in Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse on display at NGV International from 11 December 2022 – 16 April 2023. Headpieces by Michael Schmidt. Photo: Sean Fennessy.