Alexander McQueen and I had a favorite painting in common: Jean Fouquet’s Virgin and Child from 1450. While his spring 2010 collection embraced the computer age, the collection he was working on before his suicide was a reflection on the Dark Ages.
He literally incorporated medieval art by printing Northern Renaissance paintings onto fabric. One dress featured details from various Bosch works, including The Garden of Earthly Delights and the Temptation of St. Anthony.
Another dress was printed with part of Stefan Lochner’s Altarpiece of the Patron Saints of Cologne.
One of my favorite features of early Netherlandish is grisaille, monochromatic paintings which were usually put on the outside of altarpiece wings. While I’m not usually a fan of photo-printed fabrics, I love the grisaille dresses in this collection. The figures become an almost-abstract print.
For these dresses McQueen used Hugo van der Goes’ Annunciation scenes from the Portinari Altarpiece.
Even the non-printed dresses were fit for a Virgin from a Van Eyck.
McQueen said in a 2008 interview that he was inspired by the red and blue angels of Fouquet’s painting which represented the darker and lighter sides of heaven. While some reviews point out that the wings in the final look were a reference to his first collection at Givenchy, it is hard not to wonder what else he was thinking of as he designed these clothes.
Note 1: I picked out the references to paintings as best I could given the small size of the photos on Style.com so if I missed any please let me know. The collection pictures are from Style.com and most of the painting images are from the Web Gallery of Art.
Note 2: As far as I know, Alexander McQueen was not a fan of Polvo, but everyone should own their EP Celebrate the New Dark Age.