Is Fashion Art?

There are very few things for which I will stand in line…not a movie…not a restaurant…not even an ice cream.  Yet, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced extended hours for the last few days of the Alexander McQueen exhibition, I joined hundreds of New Yorkers and tourists on a seemingly never-ending line.  Thinking back, the last time I did that was for The Gates, an installation in Central Park by Christo and Jeanne-Claude.  That will give a sense of my priorities.

Three hours later, I was dazzled not just by the clothes designed by this innovative artist, but by the exhibition itself, which was a visionary, multi-media experience on many levels. The apparel were works of art, daring and audacious, each one pushing the envelope of design, drama, historical references, materials and style, accompanied by music, video, photography and lighting. It was theater and art, not just a draped mannequin, but a total experience…a museum IMAX.  The public embraced it as though that’s what they were expecting from the greatest museum in the world. It was worth the wait.

Rubbing my tired feet, I thought about the young fashion designers at work on the 6th floor of our building under the direction of Fashionista Denise Procter whose Westchester Fashion Academy for Children is a beehive of creation.  Kids from 7 to 13 are sketching, draping, sewing and trimming, using whatever rags or riches Procter can salvage, barter or buy. (Don’t throw away those glamour buttons or trim while she’s around.) I wonder whether one of these kids is the next Alexander McQueen.  After all, it is creative experiences that breed innovation.  Meanwhile, we can all ponder whether fashion is art.  The McQueen exhibition brought 661,509 visitors and 23,000 members to the Met.  What’s your take on this?

Caption for photo: Fashion design created by 9-year-old.

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