Alexander McQueen Pre-Fall 2013: Religious Art?

By Lauren Cooper, Georgia State University

The world of high fashion is simultaneously interesting and frightening to me. Designers often send outlandish creations down the runway that elicit oohs and aahs from those select few that “get it.” I have to confess, I usually don’t get it. I have difficulty seeing clothing as art. I tend to see clothing as functional, above all, and I think many people tend to agree with me. However, when I came across images from Alexander McQueen’s pre-fall line, I had to stop and think about it.

Edgy, dramatic clothing has come to be expected from Alexander McQueen, a fashion powerhouse that likes to push boundaries. For the pre-fall collection, designer Sarah Burton drew inspiration from the traditional dress of Catholic clergy. The long flowing garments, artful drapery, and stark solitary colors are all reminiscent of priestly vestments. With touches of feminine lace on certain pieces, it makes for a truly interesting collection as a whole.

Why would these holy garments be inspirational, particularly to a fashion house known for eccentricity? My first thought was that the line was intended to shock people, as the garments displayed could possibly be considered sacrilege, or at least toeing the line. Perhaps this is part of it, sure. However, thinking in terms of art, the inspiration from religious garments could have come simply because these garments are beautiful. The priest’s robes are a work of art in themselves-each piece has a meaning, and the image of a fully adorned priest evokes an emotional response for many.

Is it possible that the designer had this in mind? Maybe the Alexander McQueen pre-fall line was designed to recreate certain emotions aroused by the dress of the Catholic clergy, such as awe, sacrality, drama, and formality. If this is the case, are the responses to the designer clothing line religious, or just a simulation? I guess it depends on whether you place more importance on the meaning behind the clothes or the feelings they create. Either way, the new line gives viewers both something to look at and something to think about.


Filed Under: Culture & ArtFeaturedLauren CooperPop Culture


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