Tale of Alexander McQueen is the fourth work from the Portraits series by Claudia Scarsella that we present exclusively at the Eternal Optimist. The artist intends the term portrait as a narration of symbolic and emotional features that are fundamental in a person, rather than a reproduction of their physical resemblance. In each tale, the emotivity of the artist emerges, which interweaves, in collage, the artist's own feelings connected to the person being portrayed. Claudia Scarsella assembles layers of heterogeneous materials, sewing details into a moving vivid vitality,an evocation of the very soul of the person being portrayed.
Claudia spoke to us about her own function with the legendary designer. In 2000 I had the honour of working for Alexander McQueen, when his studio was still in London, when he used to show in London and not in Paris and I was in my first year at college. For me he was an absolut legend, together with John Galliano. Both were the icons of my college, both had studied at Central Saint Martins. In the studio where I worked, most of the clothes for the fashion shows were created, i.e. the most extreme garments, the ones that were almost impossible to ever go into production. Much of the work was by hand, intarsia in leather, tulle roses, hundreds of sequins sewn on by hand. Sarah Burton who now designs the collection, was Alexander, or Lee's, as we all called him, assistant and ran the studio. As for the portrait, Claudia told us In my collage I have represented the vortexes of the fashion system that have sucked in many, even McQueen himself. Indeed, Isabella Blow, his godmother, his muse, appears in my vortex. The image of her in the collage is from a legendary photo with Alexander McQueen taken by David LaChapelle in 1996. I have actually touched the dress she is wearing in the photo and it was really strong emotion for me. With great sadness I have to say that they have now left us, almost together, hand in hand. A wonderful couple, mad, brilliant, unforgettable. I would like to add a few more personal details about my collage. Thus I can express my fondness for this work. The embroidered roses of my collage have been visibly unpicked from a dress of mine from when I was 18. There are also skeletons, a golden fox in particular, which evokes the 2001 show when one model walked with a golden fox skeleton around her neck. The red feathers are a sign that refers to another famous collection, an ostrich feather-and-glass outfit. However I chose that to remember the violence with which Alexander McQueen chose to depart this earth.