Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Noir's McQueen

In a seamless segue from the last post to this, I shall continue as if I never left my keyboard and get on with talking about the latest Noir event, which saw Summerhall transformed into a quirky and slightly macabre setting for the McQueen-themed evening. The old university vet building is a great addition to the ever-growing list of Edinburgh Festival venues, and the many different rooms of all shapes and sizes could be utilised to great effect. The deliciously named Dissection Room was a fab choice for the event - a spacious hall with bar (woohoo), winding raised catwalk installed and an overseeing balcony. Huge projections of images of McQueen's past collections were emblazoned on the wall for the whole evening, just in case you got too drunk to remember where you were.As this is a fashion-oriented blog, I shall start talking about that, mostly. The exciting flyers promised a night of cutting-edge-everything and as they expressly said the event would be a tribute to the late legend, I was not surprised when I saw that nothing on the catwalk was McQueen. So I wasn't expecting a Savage Beauty-esque collection of garments but I was still intrigued as to what Harvey Nichols and the creative team behind the show could muster, due to the outrageously bizarre and wonderful source material they were to take inspiration from. Well, one thing I couldn't fault was the music. Composed especially for the evening, it was haunting, creeping and melancholic as only a cello could be, and the models shuffled along at funeral march pace, while the audience observed them under spotlights. So the scene was set and while the atmosphere was definitely impressive and the clothes beautiful, I could not help thinking it really didn't deliver on what was promised. The garments were solely from Harvey Nichols Edinburgh, with a few millinery additions from Joyce Paton. Nice dress after nice sweater after nice coat after a few nice dresses, it became clear that the tributee's creativity was nowhere to be seen. A lot of black looks were sent down the walk to reinforce the solemness of the show but compared to the guests that were present at McQueen's funeral (yes, I'm thinking Daphne Guinness), these looks were decidedly less tribute-like, especially given the now-obvious premise of the event. Understandably, the stock available at an Edinburgh store limits the extravagance of the main pieces for each look but there was no accessorising or styling that would tug at the corner of my mouth into a smirk of recognition of a reference to one of McQueen's quirks or traits, or make me even begin to utter even the teeniest gasps of awe. Essentially, this was an assortment of clothes from various designers strung together with the heavy reinforcement of the surroundings that this was, indeed, a tribute to McQueen. If walking in blind to the event during the darkness of the show, without the visual aids, you would be hard pressed to know the reason for all the fuss.

photos from the Noir Blog, by DN Anderson and Mike Byrne

So taking the event as a whole and sweeping aside the inadequacies and disappointments of the show (which is, arguably, the central attraction to the event), the DJs, people and even the wee exhibition right at the very back (pics below) helped to make the evening enjoyable (for pics of the party people and the rest of the pics of the event, go to Noir's blog). Perhaps this whole experience is quite a good warning against overblowing the awesomeness of the content of your main attraction, but it also shows that at least Edinburgh is trying to compete with the multitude of fashion gatherings happening most weekends a mere 40 miles away...

Ferret heads in your beaded fur stole, anyone?

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