One of Alexander McQueen’s last runway show collections was “Voss”; a fashion line and runway inspired by mental asylums and institutions. The runway resembled an enormous glass box within which the models were ‘trapped’, as they paraded in couture designs with bandages wrapped around their heads, as if they had recently suffered head wounds. The vibe of the show was bizarrre, to say the least, as McQueen was introducing into fashion the ugly, the disturbing, and the strange, straying from everyone’s comfort zone. What is most interesting about the particular design of Voss is that Voss was designed purposely with the intention of being undesirable. McQueen wanted his audience to leave disturbed but thinking; considering the direction of fashion and how such an out-of-the-ordinary performance could propel the fashion industry forward. And thus, by leaning into the undesirable, McQueen’s show became a huge success. Voss not only demonstrates how good design can stem from the ugly or unappealing, as well as begs us to consider how leaning into what is uncomfortable is essential to produce intriguing yet appealing design.
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