Week Fifty Two

W52 Style: McQueen Memorialized

Posted in Art news, Fashion by sarahbakerhansen on 3 April 2010
Above: Alexander McQueen, spring 2008; right, artist Ana Juan’s tribute for the cover of The New Yorker.

My husband is a devoted reader of The New Yorker: he spends many a late night delving into lengthy, complex stories about the issues of the day, and I admire his persistence. I subscribe to no less than 20 magazines, and while I’ll put the New Yorker on the tall magazine pile every once and again, it often makes it into the recycle bag before I have the chance to read it.

The magazine’s annual style issue is a different matter: I love it. I–along with many other fashion lovers–was particularly moved by this year’s spring style cover, a haunting tribute to the late Alexander McQueen. I know most of the readers of W52 probably aren’t fashion lovers, but even for an art lover, McQueen’s stunning body of work is nothing short of genius. The butterfly headpiece is part of McQueen’s spring 2008 collection, a tribute to his mentor and friend, the late Isabella Blow, known for her dramatic style and inimitable hat collection.

Many bloggers, magazine editors and newspaper writers have written tributes to McQueen, but this simple artistic rendering of one of the designer’s most iconic moments is by far my favorite. Elle magazine interviewed Juan about the work–she’s a regular contributor to The New Yorker— and she said the butterfly piece, of all McQueen’s work, was the one that touched her most when she was working.

“I think it was the most poetic as a metaphor of death,” Juan told Elle about the cover, created with mixed acrylic and coal on paper. “The idea was to express a certain melancholic beauty without forgetting the Spring flair.”

For more on artist Ana Juan, visit her Web site.