This happens to me every April/May.
If I had a LOT of money, no children to look after and no book deadline to meet, I’d be in New York, visiting the Met.
Readers may remember that the last time I did go there, when I was researching for Beads, Boys & Bangles, they didn’t have any costumes on show. I simply couldn’t believe it. They have one of the best collections in the world, but it was explained to me that as they’re so precious they’re only shown in special exhibitions, like this one: Savage Beauty, showcasing the work of Alexander McQueen. (How the V&A cope, showing dozens of pieces at a time from their permanent collection, I have no idea.)
Anyway, it turns out that autumn is a bad time to try and see costume at the Met, so one day I’ll have to go in spring.
This is the first time, actually, when I’m more interested in the exhibition itself than the Gala that launches it. (If you want to know all about the Gala – otherwise known as the Met Ball – and you haven’t already checked it out on E!, then read Sequins, Stars & Spotlights. Jenny gets to go in a Crow dress and borrowed diamonds.)
Intriguingly (which is a polite fashion term for ‘weirdly’), Anna Wintour chose to wear sequinned Chanel for her role as host of the evening. Most of the guests, though, chose McQueen. (One is tempted to say ‘duh’, but nobody ever says ‘duh’ to Anna Wintour. Apparently you disappear in a puff of smoke if you do, and the smoke is used as a feature in Chanel’s next catwalk show.)
There are lots of pictures on various websites of who looked good (Sarah Jessica Parker) and who looked bad (really quite a lot of people, actually). But I have a feeling I’m not alone in suffering from fashion overload at the moment. There was only one McQueen dress we wanted to see recently, and we’ve seen it.
Pity Sarah Burton, the new chief designer. Having arranged her masterpiece – which is officially THE BEST FITTING DRESS IN HISTORY – on Kate Middleton, she had to dash across the Atlantic to help finalise the show at the Met.
I say ‘pity her’. There are of course worse ways to spend your weekend than dressing the most famous bride of the century and helping to open the Metropolitan Costume Institute’s latest show. But even so, I bet she was exhausted. Which may be why she showed up at the Gala dressed in something very bridal herself, bordering on ‘intriguing’. [She’s image 4 here.] However, we shall draw a veil over that (ha) and merely reflect on the fact that shy, modest fashion geniuses may be allowed to have the odd duff moment of personal taste when they have just totally delivered on the biggest gig of their careers.
To end, here is something also quite bridal (although Lee McQueen meant it for a ‘Widow of Culloden’), by the original man himself. It’s in ‘Savage Beauty’. If you get a chance to see it in person, give it my love.