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A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess

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Three of the West 18th Street Fashion Show producers had the pleasure of attending an amazing exhibition at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Here’s a bit of background on the show and our producers’ insightful reactions.

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From the museum website:

“In the game of Chess, the Queen is considered the most powerful and often the most unpredictable piece. She embodies tradition whilst simultaneously redefining rules established by a patriarchal system. This intriguing dichotomy is the inspiration behind A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess.

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Produced by an international team of thought-leaders, curators, artists, fashion insiders, and chess players, the exhibition explores the various archetypes of the queen, as well as how storytelling and symbols capture the imagination of innovative fashion designers.

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Extremely rare pieces from one of the world’s largest private collections of Alexander McQueen’s work join garments by Gianfranco Ferré, Gucci, Hussein Chalayan, Iris van Herpen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf and approximately 25 other European and Asian designers known for their daring, remarkable work.”

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Mark Southerland, Executive producer

“By removing the models and movement, this exhibition slows fashion down to the speed of art. The pieces have been demystified; so humble and beautiful laid bare. Runways are seductive and elusive. Here you can get intimate with each garment, examining details of material and construction. Makers need to see the making.”

Peregrine Honig, Creative Director

“A Queen Within is an incredible example of accessible elegance and well-presented ideas. Fashion is a conversation about the unattainable, formality, and esoteric personal narratives. The Chess Museum presented a comprehensive and cohesive show of some of the most intelligent and celebrated designers of the 20th century, focused on a private collection by Alexander McQueen. Sealing the space between art-making and garment design, each piece exists in its own beautifully considered space. The docents were obliging and generous with their time and information. The show’s publication includes documentation of the rooms and wonderful literature about the photographs and stories behind each Queen.”

HADLEY JOHNSON, DESIGNER CURATOR

“The show not only focused on the extraordinary garments designed by international designers, but also created an environment for the garments to live within. As a viewer, I was able to stand close and study and, as a result, put them on my level. As well, I could stand back and interact with them like large paintings that told a another story. It was a superior show that will continue to resonate with me.”

Images courtesy of the World Chess Hall of Fame.

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