Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty catalog — Takaaki Matsumoto

Curator: Molly Renda
date: October 5, 2011
Categories: Book & Magazine Design
Tags: Alexander McQueen, exhibition design, Fashion, Sølve Sundsbø
© Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce
Exhibition catalog, courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (cover photograph by Gary James McQueen; interior spread photographs courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

I kick myself for not getting to The Met to see this show. Everyone I know described it as transformative. I did, however, spend the better part of a weekend with the catalog, which was in itself an experience.


I use the word experience with intention. Sølve Sundsbø’s images of the installation are breathtaking yet prove again that interpolation of physical space or works of art does not replace being in the moment, face-to-face with the work. But holding, opening and entering the catalog is an active, even interactive, experience. It’s big (9 3/4 x 13 1/8 inches) but not gigantic. For its size it’s intimate: a coffee table book that is comfortable in the hand. Takaaki Matsumoto has crafted an architecture and stage for Sundsbø’s photographs, the curator’s text, the printer’s art and McQueen’s genius. Like a toy theater, it is a unique environment that offers a window on the artist/designer and his work that transcends documentation.

Photograph by Anne Mullier
Title page spread in Bergdorff Goodman’s window (McQueen photograph by David Bailey)

Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce
White/grey chiffon dress, autumn/winter 2010 (courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce
Dress, SARABANDE, spring/summer 2007 (courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

Photograph © Sølve Sundsbø / Art + Commerce
Dress, IRENE, spring/summer 2003 (courtesy of Alexander McQueen)

Exhibition credits: Andrew Bolton, curator, with the support of Harold Koda, curator in charge, both of The Met’s Costume Institute; graphic design by Sue Koch of The Met’s Design Department; creative direction by Sam Gainsbury; production design by Joseph Bennett; and head treatments and masks designed by Guido

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