Modern Love: A Preview. Thank you @BgoArtGallery and @FIDMMuseum

Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview

Guess who just flew in from LA?

Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview

Isn’t she pretty?

The Alexander McQueen Peacock dress was made from 22 individual panels of specially commissioned lace. Each panel was individually trimmed, draped, and attached, by hand, onto the base structure of the dress.

Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview


Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview

The dress itself consists of the wispiest silk gauze draped over a bustle and pannier understructure supported by the most ethereal clouds of ruffled nylon mesh.

Dani and Kevin explaining the construction of the dress

Kevin and Dani (from the FIDM Museum, LA) explaining the construction of the dress.

Unlike traditionally draped couture pieces (formed over a living model or a drapiers mannequin) this dress was draped over a specially commissioned mannequin designed to the exact dimensions of its perfect intended wearer (as imagined by Alexander McQueen).

Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview

Hand-picked invisible zipper up the back.

As the dress is very fragile and is permanently dressed on the mannequin, the whole setup had to be vertically crated and transported to Australia in its entirety. Read more on the inspiration behind the dress and on the process involved in transporting it from LA to Bendigo in this post on the FIDM Museum Blog.

Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview

I’ve forgotten exactly how many hundreds of yards of ruffles are in there..

It seems incredibly fragile and very dense at the same time. Watch it in action on the runway here (the dress makes an appearance at 7:13).

Massive thanks to both The Bendigo Art Gallery and The FIDM Museum for allowing me to preview some of the items from the Modern Love exhibit during the past week.

Big ups to Leanne Fitzgibbon of the Bendigo Art Gallery and Kevin Jones, Dani and Christine of the FIDM Museum for their time.

Modern Love at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Blog Preview

Kevin, Dani and Christine unboxing another dress for the Modern Love exhibit

Kevin walked me through various parts of the exhibit and explained the construction of his favourite pieces along with a bit of background and historical context. The man is an absolute goldmine of awesome facts and little-known details about everything fashion. And he specialises in haute couture.

So if you’d like to see him talk about it (and maybe pick his brain after), swing by the Bendigo Art Gallery at 11 AM on Saturday the 26th of October, 2013 for his Guest Talk.

The talk is on the opening day of the exhibit and and is free, so first in best dressed (you should totally dress up anyway). Get your tickets for the exhibit here.

Big ups to Carl for being my photographer for the preview (and taking the day off work, driving me up to Bendigo and hauling all his equipment around the exhibit, taking these wonderful photos).

Evening dress
Fall/Winter 2008-9
Commissioned 2010
Alexander McQueen
Museum Commission
Funds provided by Karen Coombs-Jordan
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30 thoughts on “Modern Love: A Preview. Thank you @BgoArtGallery and @FIDMMuseum

  1. This dress almost left me speechless. Not sure what you’re job is but it must be amazing! The lace pieces are so gorgeous. I’d love to learn about the process of making lace. Great post.

    • Cheers. I’m a Scientist-I don’t work at the Gallery (though I’d love to), they’re just really awesome people and were kind enough to give me a preview of selected items from the exhibit to share them on the blog.

  2. That is a gorgeous dress. Thanks for the link to the cat walk video. Some of the early hair styles made me giggle though!

  3. That’s quite the amazing dress. I’m often conflicted about couture methods. I love the idea of couture and the results, but I often wonder if the same things could be done with much more efficiency (however my worldview is heavily based on efficiency and minimizing things). Honestly, though, I should probably read more into the couture methods now that I’ve become more experienced at sewing.

    • Yea I’m the same. I’d rather use modern techniques that give the same results with 1/20th the effort because there’s no reason not to, I love technology and hey why use coal-fired steam when solar exists? I do appreciate the effort and skill that goes into things like this though (despite having no interest in doing it myself). Much like I appreciate the effort that goes into artisan made food, crafts and the like.

      • While I understand what you both are saying, to imagine that a dress like this was made on a machine rather than by hand is almost …I can’t even find a word for it. When I sew clothes for myself or my children, I do everything possible by machine – even sewing the buttons on with a machine if possible. I was so thrilled to get my first serger so I could have real machine made looking seams! But when making a one of a kind dress such as the one above, or perhaps a wedding dress (I’m sure my daughter will get married SOMEday), seeing those hand stitches is a visible sign of how much work really went into making the garment. You are really able to see a visual mark of the very person/s that made the garment, and know their hands touched it, and how much work (and love) went into it.

        My mother and grandmother both quilt, and sewing of some kind has long been a tradition in my family. While sometimes sewing is just a means to an end, sometimes it’s also a labor of love. (Ugh – I know that sounds sappy) Yes, things *could* be done faster and easier on a machine. But I think you lose so much by doing so.

  4. This is an amazing piece of work. It looks so delicate but is clearly a massive amount of lace and fabric that must weigh a tonne.
    So glad you were able to have this unique opportunity and Carl’s photos are impressive.

  5. Blown away. That is one incredible creation. And thankyou to both you and Carl for going to the effort to document and then share it with us!! So beautiful.

    • Woman, there was a yellow jacket there, totally embellished in sequins. I saw it and immediately thought of you-perfect colour, perfect cut. Reminded me of your little French jacket =)

  6. i don’t usually like frilly ruffly numbers, but this one…. well it’s a mc queen so all the prissiness was taken out :)
    thnx for this.coincidentally reading the shaffer couture sewing techniques book.

    • I know! I’m the same but this dress-like you said, it’s just typical McQueen, hyper-feminin but at the same time, just so strong. Like a beautiful shard of diamond. Love it.

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