Dancing with McQueen

At 1:35am we finally arrived to our hotel room.

Melbourne looked peaceful at night. Unfamiliar and sprawling from the sky, as it stretched its glittery fingers across the darkness, all the way to the countryside.

I never liked Melbourne. I found the weather too cold, the coffee kind of crap and the idea of trams and AFL rather annoying.

Melbourne was the city in Australian that was known to be the most artsy and look the most European- so perhaps I just had my Sydney scarf rapped too tightly around my eyes, but either way- I was here, ready for a change of mind.

My friend and I made the trip to see the Alexander McQueen exhibition, which arrived from London. I was quite shocked when we reached a cathedral size building- the National Gallery of Victory- and have that shock magnified with how the exhibition showcased the most beautiful things I had ever seen.

Extravagance, violence, lust, power, grief, a billion glass beads embroidered on top of shapes moulded into fabric before feathers outran them, before finishing exactly in time for the hem….

Geometric patterns printed on soft as tissue silk, overlocker into squares that tumbled down the fine lines of the female body until ending in a romantic mess on the floor …

The music, the projected patterns on the walls made each collection force an emotion out of you; pain, heartbreak, rage, romance, a craving for intimacy….

I left the exhibition with the harsh revelation that I had been living life on autopilot for far too long. And that I needed to do more, feel more.…

Although I don’t know how McQueen could possibly feel such for every one of his 36 collections he created….

To feel all these loud emotions must have been either cathartic or torture-some- I can’t quite figure out which. Perhaps it was a dance in-between- and then in 2010 the dance was over.

I remember reading in his autobiography that he told a trusted designer friends that he was planning on killing himself during one of his shows, as a unforgettable and lasting way to go.

Luckily his friend talked him out of it, but it does make you feel rather exploitative for loving the way he expresses his darkness.

How even after decades post his death, his clothes are still as innovative, shocking and beautiful as they were, when first released. I could only imagine with the shows how much more haunting it would have been, and probably borderline disturbing at times.

Just to tunnel to the darkest parts of yourself and reopen such fragile boxes… It would make life quite unlovable.

I hope he’s finally at peace, wherever he is. Perhaps he’s reincarnated as one of his favourite motifs- a bird or a gazelle in a gorgeous tailored suit…

Walking back from the show, I considered how tired I had become, like tiredness was a personality trait or a limb if mine for the past few months. Work and uni left no energy or interest left for anything anymore.

I had overcomited and lost the will to even get up in the mornings, I was that tired.

But there were sips of sanity I felt, Melbourne being the start.

Being November it was also comeback season, with old flames checking back in before the new year plants them firmly in the past.

One popped up on WhatsApp, after a month of silence. Another checked up on my Instagram, after I called time back in May.

It’s so weird how sentimentally catches up with us in these last few glimpses of the year.

Self-reflection opening ourselves up to grieving for another year of people found and people lost. And hoping for better things for the new year.


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