Monday, October 14, 2013

Alexander McQueen : Taste and consumption

When discussing the phenomenon of consumption, Jean Baudrillard (1998) argues that popularization of a need or product can only occur after it has been first formed at an elite level of society. It then flows down to the lower and middle classes in their unending quest for improvement of status. Baudrillard refers to this pattern as a structured social field. It is a law that governs the introduction of new distinctive commodities and needs.

This theory may not always be true. Alexander Mc Queen who is from a working class background was a fashion designer, artist and showman. His innovation with design was unique. It was only after he gained popularity with the public that Givenchy employed him. This example shows how new ideas can form and grow in approval from any level of society.

McQueen's Autumn/Winter 2007 show was inspired by Elizabeth Howe, an ancestor of his who was murdered in the Salem witch trials of 1692. His shows were like performance art, his clothes were an alchemy of imagination, skill and passion.

Baudrillard, Jean (1998), The social logic of consumption. In, The consumer society: myths and structures (pp.49-68). SAGE. ISBN 0-761956921.