Friday, 12 February 2010

The Milk Maid, Mc Queen and the start of NY Fashion Week

Covering the ready-to-wear collections in the wake of the death of Alexander McQueen, seems somewhat inappropriate. The sudden loss of this fashion genius, the last true creative spirit in this industry, I dare say, leaves such a big black hole. And watching the New York fall collections out there, lacking any creativity, vision, or story, made me wonder, what the future of the fashion industry will be, having lost Alexander McQueen in these poor times both economically as well as creatively. Designers seem to be more and more concerned with the wearability of their clothes. Patterns are less bold, shapes less articulate and creativity is nowhere to be seen. Every brand does a bit of Lanvin, a bit of Balenciaga, a bit of Balmain. And even those respected brands with their decades of heritage and their young and hip designers who made the brands all cool again, don't seem to push their limits. With all due respect, they are swimming in their comfortable pool of coolness, collaborating with the hippest stylists in order to produce yet again the hottest piece of cloth, shoe or bag of the season.        
                                                                      From the more than 20 collections shown in New York, these last two days, there was only one look, which I want to show here. And then again, not because of its beauty, creativity or wearability for that matter. But because it reminded me of my Dutch roots... Our Golden Age. Vermeer's Milk Maid to be precise. The cap, the creamy colour, the voluptuousness of the coat-dress, topped of with those cream coloured wellies, it seemed all very milky to me. 
F/W 2010 PORTS 1961

And guess what. Alexander McQueen answered his mother Joyce McQueen in an interview for The Guardian in 2004 the following:

JM: If you could live and work as a designer in any era, which one would it be? 
AM: Any time? Future as well? 
JM: Future as well. But particularly the past. 
AM: Let's stick to the past then. I'm thinking cavemen and loincloths. 
JM: What about Tudors and Stuarts? 
AM: Er ... I'm answering the questions! Most probably ... 
JM: What about - 
AM: I'm thinking ! Fifteenth-century Flemish, Netherlands. My favourite part of art. Because of the colours,   
        because of the sympathetic way they approached life. 
JM: Simplicity, you mean. 
AM: I'm not going to get into a big art debate with you. 
JM: No, I'm trying to get to the bottom of why you like that. 
AM: 'Cause I think they were very modern for their times, in that period and in that part of the world.

The Little Street by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)

The Milk Maid by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675)
Of course I forgive him for having mistaken the 15th century for our Golden Age (17th century). Fact is, he mentioned the Netherlands, and its glory days, to be the place and era, he would liked to have lived in.

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