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When we arrived at the Metropolitan Museum's press preview for the Alexander McQueen exhibit, Savage Beauty, we were completely focused on viewing the clothing. Nothing—no bathroom visit, no free press breakfast, not even the gift shop—was going to deter us from making a beeline for that exhibition. Then we were handed a program informing us that a few speakers were about to make remarks. The usual suspects: Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Thomas P. Campbell, exhibition curator Andrew Bolton, designer Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen Creative Director Sarah Burton—WHAT?
Yes, Sarah Burton was about to make her first public appearance since creating "the dress of the century." Of course, it made sense that she'd be there. We just hadn't expected it. The exhibit could wait. We rushed into the European Sculpture Court, where the talk was being held, and sat expectantly with the likes of Fern Mallis, Anna Wintour and half the ex-pat Brits in the city.
Thomas P. Campbell welcomed us, discussing how the world is "exhibiting a McQueen moment, if accidentally" and describing the exhibit as "what might be the most spectacular museum costume exhibit anywhere." (He might be right, but more about that later.) The next speaker was Stella McCartney, who said that she was there as Alexander McQueen's friend. Stella explained that the two "led different lives," but "still followed a parallel path," adding that they both respected the tailoring on Savile Row. She too was engaging, but she hadn't designed last weekend's royal wedding dress.
Finally, Sarah Burton came to the podium. The designer looked a tad exhausted—as one would after a weekend spent debuting the world's most visible dress—and seemed a bit shy. She shared very little about McQueen, but did say she was "proud and honored to work with him. He was a genius." And then she was done, with no time for questions from the crowd and no commentary on the wedding dress.
Were we disappointed? Well, yes, but the next speaker, curator Andrew Bolton, made up for it with some fascinating details on McQueen's life and his work. Our favorite was the fact that on the designer's arm was tattooed his credo—a line from Shakespeare's A Mid-Summer Night's Dream, "Love looks not with the eye but with the mind."
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· The Metropolitan Museum of Art [Official Site]