The Costume Institute’s Harold Koda. Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images.
Another high point for me of the Alexander McQueen retrospective at the Met was interviewing Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute. I spotted Mr. Koda halfway through the exhibit and lined up behind two other writers to talk to him. I knew I wanted to meet him after seeing the movie Bill Cunningham New York, where he spoke about the significance of Bill’s work of capturing on film regular people dressed in fascinating clothes.
When we spoke Mr. Koda pointed out that Alexander McQueen wasn’t a designer who made you wonder how far he could’ve gone if he’d stayed alive, if he’d had more time to create. Instead, in a span of 19 years, McQueen had a major impact on the fashion world and brought to fruition his “difficult and highly-evolved vision.” When I asked Mr. Koda what his favorite part of the exhibit was, I loved how he said without pause, “The Cabinet of Curiosities,” which showcases fashion and accessories such as wild hats, shoes and jewelry McQueen made in collaboration with other artists. “What is mechanical and prosaic becomes poetic,” Mr. Koda said of the pieces featured there. “You see what’s purely the artist, not conceding to editorial or marketplace concerns.”
Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen. Hat, La Dame Bleue, spring/summer 2008. Turkey feathers painted and shaped like butterflies. Featured in Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in Gallery Three, “Cabinet of Curiosities.” Photo by Getty Images.
Mr. Koda is so erudite on the subject of the art of fashion that he inspires me to want to learn more about everything—fabrics, couture techniques, historical references, anything to help educate my eye and improve both my understanding of fashion and my writing about it.
If you’d like to meet Harold yourself, join him on June 19 for the lecture “Alexander McQueen: Art, Beauty, and the Unique Body,” part of the Sunday at the Met series. He will be joined by McQueen muse Aimee Mullins as they discuss art, fashion, and the unique body as an object of beauty. You will no doubt come away with a deeper appreciation of McQueen’s work.
Sundays at the Met
“Alexander McQueen: Art, Beauty, and the Unique Body”
Sunday, June 19, 2011, 3:00-4:30PM
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium
Free with museum admission