|Photos are taken from McQeen's website.|
Credit: Chris Moore.
A prominent theme in gothic literature is the notion of using the dark and supernatural as a tool for examining as well as exposing something deeply human. When we humans are placed in a state of fear, or a situation that is unknown to us, where we lack any kind of previous experience, we are forced to fall back on our most primal instinct; that of survival. Sides of our personality that may otherwise be hidden re-surface to reveal our true nature. The gothic makes a point out of exploiting this to the full, in it’s different variations.
Many of it’s themes being rooted in what can readily be seen as forbidden or tabu, gothic has a tendency of being romanticised for it’s unattainability. Gothic can either be flamboyant and wild or exposing and raw. It reflects our desires and deepest wishes, alluring us in it’s intimacy.
A good example of where we can find gothic in its contemporary form is the extravagant creations of Alexander McQueen. Turning to materials like lace, feathers, embroidery, prints and other miscellaneous objects McQueen had a unique sense of how to most effectively embellish an idea. Although covering up most of the body with fabric, sometimes even including the face, his cutting bold lines and deep colours are sensual, even erotic, although a few collections displays a more delicate side where McQueen seems to be toying with the concept of innocence through materials and design.
McQueen drew a lot of his inspiration from history as well as the cinema. One of his collections, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (2002), was conceived as a tribute to the famous film maker within the horror genre, Tim Burton, while others have been influenced by historical characters and scenes from the Victorian age. Through his fashion lines, McQueen creates a marriage between opposites, forging them into a dark romance of the senses, thereby presenting a perfect example of going back to what is indeed deeply human; “I’m about what goes through people’s minds, the stuff that people don’t want to admit or face up to. The shows are about what’s buried in peoples Psyches.”
All and all, Alexander McQueen and his creations strikes me as a remarkable embodiment of the gothic in a contemporary world.
Photo credit: Chris Moore. Photo credit: Anne Deniau
More about McQueen and the gothic: AMQ Savage Beauty