Behind the seams: Inside the NGV’s breathtaking Alexander McQueen exhibition


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Chloe Chou

Fairer, along with his wife Vanessa, now has the monumental task of digitising over 30,000 images in his archive. Towards the end of our call, he holds up his book, Alexander McQueen: Unseen, turned to a collage of the designer in a bunny costume from Natural Dis-tinction Un-natural Selection (spring-summer 2009). The show was held in an art space that was once a Paris morgue, filled with antique taxidermy. In the images, when he takes the bunny head off, McQueen is seen smiling. “When you see portraits of McQueen, they tend to be quite serious, but there was also this joyous side. And you can see his explosive joy after a great show and he’s happy. I was very fortunate to get that photograph and that’s how I like to remember him.” 

Robert Fairer at the NGV

Eugene Hyland

“Our main aim is now to share the creative genius with the younger generation who weren’t as fortunate as us to witness them first-hand,” says Fairer sitting in front of a wall of negatives from various shows and shoots up until 2007. With its vast scope, “Mind, Mythos, Muse”  allows us to see a unique visionary’s perspective on life brought together in one place. 

“Lee was willing to bring in new ideas and he listened to people. He worked directly with the technicians and valued our experience, background and knowledge. The show with Shalom and the robots, nobody knew if it was going to work because it hadn’t been tested. He was open to everything, and challenged other designers, which is perhaps why he is referenced even today,” says Tosh. He had a hunger for “new ideas, new fabrics, new ways of working. Fearlessness and embracing new technology— that may be Lee’s biggest legacy.”

Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse will be on display till 16 April 2023 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Also read:

Ashish Shah on shooting for Alexander McQueen: “It’s no more the time to just create beautiful images. I want to show nuances and symbolism in my work”

5 things to know about Alexander McQueen’s mushroom-inspired AW22 show

In Process, Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton gives complete creative freedom to 12 artists to reinterpret her work

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