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.
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.
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. They range from established names to students still working in some of the most prestigious design schools in the world such as Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Central Saint Martins and Royal College of Arts in London.
A Queen Within investigates which archetypes can be seen to form the idea of a queen, or metaphorically a woman. The exhibition explores nine sides of a queen: The Sage, Mother Figure, Magician, Enchantress, Explorer, Ruler, Mother Earth, Heroine and Thespian.
The themes are based upon interpretations of some of Carl Jung’s most familiar archetypes. The story of each persona – its powers, its weaknesses, its significance, its sacrifice – is told through symbols, examples of fashion, photography, film and artwork.
“We have designed the exhibition itself to be a 3,200 square foot piece of art that viewers can experience on many different levels. They’ll be able to look closely for hidden symbols, stand back to appreciate the overall effect of enveloping visuals and reflect on each theme,”
– Sofia Hedman, curator
To parallel the history of chess itself, symbols have been taken from royal representations existing in the fifteenth century onwards. In royal paintings, such as the Rainbow Portrait of Elizabeth I (c. 1600-1602), symbols including eyes, ears, serpents and wings were used to emphasise the queen’s presence. These same symbols, and many more, appear in the exhibition design as specially made sculptures.
Designer Serge Martynov, artist/wood carver Orlando Campbell and artist Karolina Kling were commissioned to contribute with the artwork and sculptures. The master of coiffure Charlie Le Mindu created bespoke wigs for the show.
After discovering Hieronymus Bosch’s Haywain triptych panel painting (1480-1500) on one of the Alexander McQueen dresses from the private collection, Flemish painters such as Bosch and Pieter Bruegel became the inspiration for the exhibition design and prosthetics.
Exhibition Objects By
Alexander McQueen, Anrealage, Bea Szenfeld, Chan Luu, Charlie Le Mindu, Gianfranco Ferre, Gucci, Hideki Seo, Henrik Vibskov, Hussein Chalayan, Iris Schieferstein, Iris Van Herpen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Jordan Askill, Josefin Arnell, Keta Gutmane, Koji Arai, Maiko Takeda, Maison Martin Margiela, Michael Drummond, Minju Kim, Noritaka Tatehana, Octavia Xiaozi Yang, Pam Hogg, Rein Vollenga, Rejina Pyo, Ryohei Kawanishi, Sandra Backlund, Serena Gili, Shaun Leane and and Daphne Guinness, Tabitha Osler, Viktor & Rolf, and Writtenafterwards.
Selected works from famed photographer Anne Deniau’s recent book, Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen, which contains over 400 never before seen photos of Lee Alexander McQueen shot behind the scenes are highlighted in the exhibition.
As well as bespoke head pieces commissioned the master of coiffure Charlie Le Mindu.
‘Inspired by extreme glamour as embodied in particular by Isabella Blow, La Dame Bleu focuses on all the McQueen signatures including authentically created strong-shouldered Savile Row tailoring – each piece is canvas mounted and hand-toiled – closely fitted cocktail dresses with an exaggerated hipline, their waists cinched with wide belts, sleek black skirt suits in previous reptile skin, flashed of exotic colour and embellished silk chiffon and organza gowns.’ La Dame Bleue, ss 2008
‘In 18ct White Gold, Contra Mundum or “against the world” combines an armour-like structure with the aesthetics of an evening glove, made in either lace or silk. The piece is made up of more than a thousand grams of gold and is set with over 5,000 pavé white diamonds. Striking diamond birds cascade around the arm, as though caught in mid-flight.’ Contra Mundum, 2011
‘The dress consisting of serpentine forms made of black acrylic sheets, nicknamed the “snake dress”, evokes the mental state at the moment before the jump when, as Van Herpen explains, “all my energy is in my head and I feel as though my mind is snaking through thousands of bends.”’ Haute Couture Collection, 2011
About the Curator
Sofia Hedman, Fashion Curator and Exhibition Designer
Sofia Hedman has curated and designed numerous exhibitions in London, Tokyo and Stockholm. Her central area of interest and expertise is conceptual fashion and art, and the history of fashion combined with a keen commitment to experimental fashion curation. She has investigated what can be deemed characteristics and codes for avant-garde fashion curation and their implications for contemporary exhibitions.
Sofia has published, taught extensively, lectured and supervised in Stockholm at Beckmans College of Design, Architectural Museum, IUAV University in Italy as well as the university of Borås and The Swedish School of Textiles.
For information about group tours of the exhibition, please contact Program Manager Claire Grothe at email@example.com or (314) 367-9243 x 105.
11/28/13: A Shaded View on Fashion — THE EXHIBITION A QUEEN WITHIN - ADORNED ARCHETYPES, FASHION AND CHESS IS NOW OPEN AT THE WORLD CHESS HALL OF FAME
11/5/2013: USCF — Jen on the Queen’s Gala and Carlsen-Anand, by Jennifer Shahade
11/2013: Harper’s Bazaar Ukraine — Culture News
10/31/13: Student Life — ‘A Queen Within’ brings dazzling designer couture to St. Louis, by Katharine Jaruzelski
10/29/13: Modern Midwest — Ruler, Enchantress, Sage: They’re All Queens Within, by John Reinan
10/28/13: Anne Deniau — Y like Y I love Saint-Louis, USA… & serendipitY
10/25/13: STLToday.com — ‘A Queen Within’ tells its story with show stoppers, by Debra Bass
10/22/13: St. Louis Magazine — Queen’s Gala Gallery
10/21/13: Refinery29 — Missouri Chess Museum Holds Major Fashion Exhibition (And We’re Not Even Kidding), by Libby Banks
10/21/13: STLToday.com — IPARTY@THE QUEEN’S GALA AT SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, by Jon Gitchoff
10/18/13: St. Louis Beacon — On Chess: Hall of Fame exhibit focuses on the power of the queen, by Jennifer Shahade
10/18/13: St. Louis Public Radio — Fashion & Chess: St. Louis’ World Chess Hall of Fame Presents ‘A Queen Within’, by Alex Heuer (Audio)
10/17/13: ArtDaily.com — World Chess Hall of Fame opens “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess”
10/17/13: Artron.net — World Chess Hall of Fame opens “A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess”
10/8/13: Chicago Sun Times — A Royal Exhibit at the World Chess Hall of Fame, by Molly Each
10/8/13: St. Louis Magazine — Feel Like Royalty at the World Chess Hall of Fame Exhibition Opening: A Queen Within, by Amanda Chumley
10/6/13: Columbia Daily Tribune — World Chess Hall of Fame explores the concept of queenliness, by Caroline Dohack
10/2013: ALIVE Magazine — A Queen Within, by Jennifer Wells
10/2013: Cosmopolitan — 19 Things to Do This Month
10/2013: Elle Decor — Style Sheet, by Hannah Martin
10/2013: Harper’s Bazaar — Must-See Exhibitions
10/2013: Hinsdale Living — Dedicated Followers of Fashion
10/2013: Studio 3 Magazine — Alexander McQueen Distinctive Design, by Judy Uelk
9/26/13: Blouin Art Info — The Queen Gets the Royal Treatment, by Michelle Tay
9/26/13: Hinsdale Living — Dedicated Followers of Fashion, by Michelle Crowe
9/11/13: Town & Style — A Queen Within
9/2013: Marie Claire — What Nina Loves, by Nina Garcia
9/2013: St. Louis Magazine — ROYAL COUTURE, by Stefene Russell
8/2013: ALIVE Magazine — “A Queen Within” Inside the World Chess Hall of Fame’s Exhibition Preview in NYC, by Jennifer Dulin Wiley
7/19/13: St. Louis Business Journal — Fashion shows in style at museums
7/18/13: The Wall Street Journal — Style Shows Come Into Fashion at Museums, by Ellen Gamerman
7/12/13: STLToday.com — Schedule of events for “A Queen Within” exhibit, by Debra D. Bass
7/12/13: STLToday.com — Art, fashion and chess collide in St. Louis, by Debra D. Bass
7/1/13: ALIVE Magazine — Fashion’s Royal Queen, by Jennifer Dulin Wiley
6/14/13: St. Louis Business Journal — Check out World Chess Hall of Fame’s ‘A Queen Within’, by Patricia Miller
6/11/13: The Portland Mercury — A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess, by Elizabeth Mollo
6/10/13: Twelv Magazine — A Queen Within, by Meghan Pero
6/7/13: Examiner — A Queen Within exhibit: Celebrating fashion and chess, by Leslie Reider
6/7/13: InStyle Magazine — How Would the Queen Piece in Chess Dress? Probably Like This, by Jennifer Taylor
6/7/13: St. Louis Public Radio — Fashion And Art In St. Louis, by Nancy Kranzberg
6/6/13: Avenue — Chess Goes Couture at Christie’s, by Melissa Berkelhammer
6/5/13: ALIVE Magazine — Live On The Scene At The World Chess Hall Of Fame’s “A Queen Within” Exhibition Preview In NYC, by Elizabeth Tucker
6/5/13: DuJour — Queen Me: When Fashion, Royalty and Chess Collide, by Brooke Bobb
6/5/13: Guest of a Guest — Last Night’s Parties: Sofia Vergara Steps Out For the Gordon Parks Foundation Awards, Anna Wintour Joins Jenns Lyons At The J.Crew CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund Dinner, And More! (page 5)
6/5/13: Harper’s Bazaar — The World Chess Hall of Fame’s Newest Exhibit Preview at Christie’s, by Chrissy Rutherford
6/5/13: Interview — Fashion and Chess Collide at Christie’s, by Allyson Shiffman
6/5/13: Refinery29 — God Save The Queen! Peep These Royally Inspired Duds, by Seija Rankin
6/5/13: St. Louis Magazine — World Chess Hall of Fame Previews A Queen Within in New York City, by Nancy Curtis
6/5/13: V Magazine — What’s the Difference Between Fashion and Chess?
6/5/13: W Magazine — A Queen Within: After Hours, by Giovanna Campagna
6/5/13: Whitewall — Checkmate: A Queen Within Preview at Christie’s, by Sarah Bochicchio
6-7/2013: Christie’s Catalog — 5 Things
5/30/13: Glam.com — A Queen Reigns Supreme in Fashion and Chess, by Channing Hargrove
5/30/13: The Herald — A QUEEN WITHIN: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion, and Chess Exploration between the Queen Archetype and Her Relationship with Fashion (Article no longer available online)
5/30/13: New York Magazine — A Queen Within: Fashion Collides With Chess, by Julie Ma
5/30/13: St. Louis Business Journal — Fashion to get spotlight at Chess Hall of Fame, by E.B. Solomont
5/29/13: Fibre2Fashion — World Chess Hall of Fame to host a fashion exhibit
5/29/13: Style.com — Christie’s Hosts Old Queens and New, by Ashley Simpson
5/16/13: Ladue News — A Queen Within
5/2013: ALIVE Magazine — Style Maven—Interview with Susan Sherman, by Lindsay Pattan