The Mind, The Muse: An Alexander McQueen Exhibition Opens At The NGV

It's an ode to the boundary-pushing work of the extraordinary designer.

The history-making, revolutionary legacy of Alexander McQueen lives on. 

The National Gallery of Victoria has opened its exhibition on the designer, titled, Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse—the very first major Australian exhibition dedicated to the work of McQueen.

Presenting more than 110 pieces from his repertoire, the exhibition showcases his extraordinary work, which redefined the late nineties and noughties. 

The pieces sit alongside 70 historical artworks including paintings, sculptures and decorative arts complimentary to his work—reference points, if you will, to the designer’s key influences.

“The juxtaposition of garments and artworks highlights McQueen’s creative process and capacity for storytelling, as well as offering audiences an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of his artistic legacy and the nature of inspiration,” NGV’s official press release reads. 

(Credit: NGV / Robert Fairer)

The NGV exhibition has been arranged in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). 

In a statement about the upcoming exhibit, Danny Pearson, Minister for Creative Industries, said: “Melbournians have a rich appreciation for fashion and this exhibition provides them with the opportunity to celebrate one of the industry’s boldest innovators.”

Meanwhile Tony Ellwood, NGV’s director, added that the exhibit celebrates McQueen’s craftsmanship and intellectual rigour which is seldom seen on the runways—then and now. 

“He created a new vocabulary for fashion design that still resonates today. Comprising more than 110 garments, this showstopping exhibition unites the collections of LACMA and the NGV for the very first time, and celebrates the timeless work of one of the true icons of late twentieth century fashion,” he said.

A gala to open the exhibit brought the Australian fashion scene and Alexander McQueen devotees together, including 90s supermodel Shalom Harlow, who was famously spray-painted in the close of McQueen’s spring 1999 show. “It was pure improvisation,” Harlow told marie claire Ausralia at the gala. “There were so many elements that were very complicated that revealed itself in time. I was just responding to that.”

(Credit: Getty)

McQueen devastatingly passed away on February 11, 2010. At the time, an official statement read: “Lee McQueen, the founder and designer of the Alexander McQueen brand, has been found dead at his home. At this stage it is inappropriate to comment on this tragic news beyond saying that we are devastated and are sharing a sense of shock and grief with Lee’s family. Lee’s family has asked for privacy in order to come to terms with this terrible news and we hope the media will respect this.”

McQueen’s famous clientele and fans across the world poured out tributes for the late designer, with Lady Gaga, who frequently wore his designs, dedicating a song to him while performing at the 2010 Brit Awards. Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss also famously wore McQueen’s ‘Manta’ dresses, which were inspired by a scuba-diving holiday McQueen took to the Maldives in 2009. 

12 years after his tragic death, his legacy lives on in all corners of the world—including Melbourne, Victoria.

Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse will be on display at the NGV from December 11, 2022 until April 16, 2023.

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