Highland VOSS, Gothic Girl Art Magazine

Alexander McQueen ~ Gothic Girl Art Magazine

Highland VOSS ~ Romantic Gothic meets Horror through Fashion

“People find my things sometimes aggressive. But I don’t see it as aggressive. I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality.”

~ Alexander McQueen

McQueen has been written about frequently following his death in 2010 at his own hands. His 36 live fashion shows, spanning 1992’s Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims to 2010 Angels & Demons, were gothic works of art and events not to be missed.

But the juxtaposition of romantic goth meets horror is best viewed through two of his finest events.

Highland Rape ~ Autumn/Winter 1995

McQueen’s family was Scottish, and he carried his political stance for Scotland and against England’s historically heavy-handed pillaging of his homeland through this seminal event. The title itself was about the Highland Clearances of Scotland.

“What the British did there was nothing short of genocide.”

~ Alexander McQueen

While still early in McQueen’s career, the four parts of what was to become his live bombastic storytelling are already present.

    1. Haute Couture interspersed with ready-to-wear fashion.
    2. Exceptional models transformed into actresses playing vital roles in his storytelling, including interacting with each other.
    3. Scenic and lighting design that supported his story.
    4. Music that supported the feel of his concept.

Altogether, 19 models told his story during a 30-minute show that encompassed 81 fashion looks.

    • Each model wore an average of 4 looks.
    • Almost 3 looks per minute or 22 seconds per look.

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Voss ~ Spring/Summer 2001

The groundbreaking event was named after the Norwegian town known for its wildlife habitat. It is based on the Joel Peter Witkin image Sanitarium. Both the show and its fashion were designed to highlight the politicization of appearance and the present ideals of beauty.

“I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes… That’s mundane, and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers.”

~Alexander McQueen

Six years after Highland Rape, McQueen arguably hit his peak concept show. ~ VOSS. The four parts of his bombastic storytelling remain but are now much more refined yet equally beautiful and disturbing.

What sets this show apart is his storytelling.  It’s achieved through both his fashion and the scenic design that discards the traditional catwalk, instead embracing the number 3.  Three represents the number of spectating groups and, not coincidentally, the number of rooms, or boxes, on what is essentially a movie soundstage.

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Highland VOSS ~ Romantic Gothic meets Horror through Fashion

What Alexander McQueen was able to achieve during his short life transcended fashion. He left the world with inspiration and his example of how he found inspiration ~ beauty and horror equating to nature and human history.

Over a decade after his death, his equation continues to inspire in all art forms because the truth remains.

Highland VOSS, Gothic Girl Art Magazine
Highland VOSS ~ Beauty
Highland VOSS, Gothic Girl Art Magazine
Highland VOSS ~ Horror

Images by Tom Libertiny, used by permission

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