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New Orleans Museum of Art Exhibit ‘A Queen Within-Adorned Archetypes'

Updated: Jul 20, 2019

A Queen Within- Adorned Archetypes: Over 100 fashions, accessories, photos, and videos exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art, Spring 2018. Elinor Coleman and Vintage Mirage share her comments on this exhibit.

While visiting New Orleans this spring I visited the New Orleans Museum of Art. I experienced the expansive fashion, mystical and experimental presentation focusing on 7 archetypes of the queen/ female/woman, which Alexander McQueen was influenced by and created his collections and formed his narratives about these inspirations. Each archetype category displayed fashions and accessories within a separate area with creative feathers, blossoms, shiny mirrors, to differentiate them. In addition, the curators included more contemporary designers, photographers, and video artists in order to expand the visual dialogue and make the exhibit more worldwide and inclusive of diverse bodies, materials, and localities.

Mother Earth, Sage, Magician, Enchantress, Explorer, Heroine, and Thespian were the archetypes categories displayed. The categories took me back to my study of folk tales, mythology and women’s retelling of the ancient dramas and religions and Goddess mythology certainly, but with a contemporary fashion twist.

I was thrilled looking at the Alexander McQueen gowns and shoes, but the contemporary artists and designers included were even more awe-inspiring. Here are a few of my favourites.

The Snake Dress by Iris van Herpen reminded me of Medusa and the snake hair but now with a full dress surrounding and confining the model, shiny metallic piping, made from sheets of black acrylic.

Another garment by Van Herpen was a white honeycomb woven fiber dress covered the body, called Cymatic– from the geometrical patterning spun from sound waves into a garment of sorts. Truly wonderful, although it would be difficult to wear, so I am suggesting that this is a work of art

The video lookbook presentation of a single model dressed in a single color outfit/ primary color, standing silently and still for minutes, dressed from head to toe, in an urban location, crossroad location/local community location, with people passing by, voices recorded. Add a different primary color smoke puffing out the viewfinder limits adding the outdoor element and awareness that the model was indeed in the street, affected by the wind, public passing, but still remaining a fashion statement. This extensive video was by Rich Mnisi, South Africa.

The red braided and twisted fabric surrounded and engulfed the model by Comme de Garcon.

A photo of the flowered environment within which the mannequins were surrounded with McQueen and other designers gowns and headpieces.

I hope you enjoyed my comments. I encourage you to browse the website of the New Orleans Museum of Art and read about this past exhibit. Unfortunately, although this exhibit is touring I am not certain it will arrive here anytime soon; Barrett Barrera Projects and MUSEEA and touring internationally by Flying Fish.

Please stop by Vintage Mirage and explore our interesting curated collection of jewelry, clothing, and accessories, here in Old Town. There are rotating presentations of merchandise for you all year round. Happy Consignment & Vintage Shopping.

Elinor Coleman

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