Wednesday, June 22, 2011

exploring the garment district

To anyone who doesn't think shopping can be a form of exercise, you've never been downtown.

Today, I checked out the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit on Alexander McQueen : Savage Beauty.  I do not even have words for this - the music, the way the mannequins had their faces covered, the dark lighting - it almost moved me to tears.  If you have the opportunity to see this exhibit, please do.  I bought the book (I'm starting a nice collection of coffee table books now - this one, the wedding exhibit book ... ) and the book definitely does the exhibit justice.  The photographs are amazing. 

I was not able to take photos myself, but here are some I have found online:

The dress that was worn on a rotating floor and spray painted by automotive painting machines

 One of my favorites from the exhibit - the mannequin had a head so you could see the eerie way the collar was hiding it - amazing use of shape and distortion on the human body.

Impossibly inhuman and beyond beautiful.

 The infamous antler dress - a quote beneath it stated how Alexander and his team hated the process of poking the resin antlers through the $2,000 of lace material.  But the spontaneity was necessary!

From "Platos Atlantis", the jellyfish ensemble.  Seeing the details on this collection was amazing - the hexagonal beading was something you'd never find from runway photos.

 My number one favorite - if you have not seen the video of this collection, set up as an actual chess game, it will give you chills when you do.  A robotic voice commands the "pieces" (models) to move.  The collection is titled "It's Only a Game".

I also bought a small blank journal with his mirror-image snakeskin print on the front.  I am a sucker for anything I can write or draw in.  

Afterwards, I headed to the garment district in Manhattan - an area specializing in fabrics, trims, beads and garment supplies slightly less than a square mile.   This was terribly overwhelming - but in a nice way.  I picked up some silk charmeuse and crinkled chiffon swatches, and then went on a hunt for unique laces to use on a neckline or cuff and then some chiffons with subtle metallic brocading or textures.  I was in luck - after searching through just about the whole area, I went back to one of the first stores I had gone to called Lace Star (one of my favorites from the day - clean, large, polite) and found some interesting selections.  I also got to visit Mood (my absolute favorite) and chatted with a very kind employee.  I found the tailoring fabric I want to use in the fall (I will get it another day - my bag was already too heavy!)  There are also a million other wonders I want to go back for.

I did buy a couple things in addition to the swatches I collected - in a ribbon store called Shindo I bought some elasticized ribbon (picture what bra straps are made of) to go with my lace tee I'm knitting (there is to be a ribbon in the back, but I wanted the elastic); so that is in a metallic charcoal, then I also bought some in a pale lilac.  I also bought a silk waxed thread used for hand stitching, good for its strength and lack of tangling. 

Onto the pictures!

 Inside of Lace Star

My dinner!


  1. Wow, I watched the McQueen chess game video! I think it's cute that it was inspired by Harry Potter (as well as 18th century fashion). The checkmate was so epic.

  2. Rachel you seem to be having the best internship ever! The exhibition looks absolutely AMAZING. There is something about his designs which proves to the world how fashion shouldn't be such just as an industry - but as an art form. The creativity, time, effort and sheer skill that his gone into his work is staggering.


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