Around Christmas, Sarah Burton and her team at McQueen sent images from this pre-collection released today to 12 female artists, along with a proposal. Artists were asked to select as many items from the collection as they wished to use as a starting point for an artwork commissioned by McQueen. Today, the findings have been installed in the flagship of the Bond Street brand, alongside the collection itself. As Burton said in a press release, “I wanted to engage in a new creative dialogue with the collection this season and see how the artists interpreted the work we created in the studio. It has been very interesting to see how creativity has arisen from so many different perspectives, and the results have been varied and beautiful.
How we react to art is as subjective as our reaction to clothing: pieces that I personally wish I had hung in my living room include Hope Gangloff’s portrait of her friend with the incidental name Caitlin MacQueen wearing the patched jeans from look 16, that of Marcia Kure painting and posing a fascinator The Amina Project from the look 30 dress with the initials of the McQueen studio teams embroidered in crystal and silver on Chantilly lace, and the funny and fascinating piece by Beverly Semmes Worrywho blew Look 1’s busted neckline-worried corset dress into a physical manifestation of a psychological state (with a Labrador).
These and the nine other equally excellent pieces will remain on display in London for at least a further fortnight before going on tour to other McQueen venues yet to be confirmed. As a collaborative device, the project was a clever way of interrogating through contiguity the established hierarchy of art forms (which, for reasons that are sure to involve sexism, place fashion very low), while putting emphasis on female dialogue, community and expression.
What would be particularly fascinating to see is the development of this artistic dialogue into a full-fledged conversation, with Burton and his team working to interpret elements of the art, such as the stormy canvas of The Amina Project and the moody tapestry by artist Ann Cathrin November Høibo. in future pieces. But even as a unique experience, it was an interesting twist.