A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess

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.

On View: October 19, 2013 - April 19, 2014

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 from the master of coiffure, Charlie Le Mindu.

Photo © Anastasya Martynova

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.

Archetypes of the Queen: The Sage

The Sage Queen is a thinker, planner, risk-taker, expert, and philosopher. Highly educated and extremely wise, she has profound knowledge. Her strengths are wisdom, intelligence, and self-reflection, which she uses in lengthy processes of analysing and trying to understand the world. Her biggest fears are being ignored or tricked by others and of feeling deluded. Her weakness is being consumed by the everlasting study of details without ever moving in a direction. Her ability to see both sides of an issue can lead to an inability to act. 


Alexander McQueen


Natural Dis-tinction, Un-natural Selection, SS 2009

Fully encrusted Swarovski crystal bell jar dress

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


Natural Dis-tinction, Un-natural Selection, ss 2009

Two piece ensemble with crystal print

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


The Girl Who Lived in the Tree, AW 2008

Blue velvet coat with gold embroidery

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


Gold embroidered Poem Coat featuring lines from Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


Widows of Culloden, AW 2006

Red and black tartan dress with black lace

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


The Girl Who Lived in the Tree, AW 2008

Red jewelled head piece

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


The Girl Who Lived in the Tree, AW 2008

Black dress with snowflake application

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


The Girl Who Lived in the Tree, AW 2008

White gown with embroidery

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


La Dame Bleue, SS 2008

Black silk dress with embroidered wings in gold

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


In Memory of Elisabeth Howe, Salem, 1692, AW 2007

Hunter green velvet long sleeve gown with copper flames embroidery

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Archetypes of the Queen: The Mother Figure

The Matriarch Queen is an altruist, parent, carer, protector, great teacher, and mentor. She comforts and gives support to those confused and in need of guidance. Her strengths are patience and consideration for fellow women, men, and children. She provides love to help others flourish. Her greatest fears are the ungratefulness of others, disharmony, and her own selfishness. Her main weakness is that she can easily become a martyr and make others feel guilt. 


Alexander McQueen


Heaven and Hell Pre-Collection, AW 2010

Long sleeved silk print painting dress with gold painted feathers

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Alexander McQueen


La Dame Bleue, SS 2008

Silk ombre kimono dress and patent leather belt

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Minju Kim


Dear My Friend Collection, 2012

Woolen coat with shoulder piece and headdress

Courtesy of Minju Kim


Gianfranco Ferré



Dress made of Swarovski crystals

Courtesy of Private collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Shaun Leane & Daphne Guinness

Contra Mundum, 2011

Bespoke diamond glove

Courtesy of Shaun Leane and Daphne Guinness


Iris Schieferstein



Eye wear made of snake

Courtesy of Iris Schieferstein

Photo © Gavin Fernandes


Hideki Seo


Take Off ensemble, June 2011

Courtesy of Hideki Seo Photo © Eori Wakakuwa


Archetypes of the Queen: The Enchantress

The Enchantress and Temptress Queen is a seductress, femme fatale, sensualist, and enthusiast. Her strengths are passion, wit, and spiritual and bodily appeal. She demonstrates appreciation, but is also capable of manipulation. She is happiest when she mesmerises all those around her. Her greatest fear is being a lonely wallflower, undesirable and unloved. Her weakness is an undervaluation of wisdom and her constant desire to have psychological power over men. 


Hussein Chalayan


One Hundred and Eleven Collection, SS 2007

Bubble dress

Courtesy of Swarovski

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen


White dress with crest and pearl embellishments, SS 2011 

Courtesy of Private Collection

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Jordan Askill


Swallow neck piece, SS 2012 

Courtesy of Jordan Askill


Archetypes of the Queen: The Magician

The Magician Queen is the visionary artist, the ethereal catalyst or inventor, the charismatic leader who can make the seemingly impossible reality. Her strengths are spirituality, intuitiveness, creative energy, imagination, and resolving problems. Her biggest weaknesses are manipulating others and perfectionism, as well as expectations of praise and reward for her work. 




Collection #07 Seven Gods—Clothes from Chaos Jurozin, SS 2013

Dress in mixed media

Courtesy of Writtenafterwards

Photo © Sarah Carmody


Archetypes of the Queen: The Explorer

The Explorer Queen is an individualist, seeker, adventurer, pilgrim, and rebel. Her strengths are determination and independence. The rebel is needed for growth and progression in a society. She accepts challenges and has the power to reject authority in order to continue being authentic and free. Her greatest fears are conventionality, inner emptiness, and boredom. She has a tendency to habitually blame others for inconveniences, but also drift aimlessly and fall in love with the enfant terrible. 


Hideki Seo


Switching on Even Small Lights In Our Too Dark Heart, March 2011 

Courtesy of Hideki Seo

Photo © Patricia Munster


Hideki Seo


Swimming in the Garment Flow Ensemble, 2005 

Courtesy of Hideki Seo

show2005, Antwerp Fashion Department

Photo © Etienne Tordo


Archetypes of the Queen: The Ruler

The Ruler Queen is the leader queen, a role model. She aims to create a prosperous and successful family or community. Her strengths are control, authority, and accountability. Her greatest fears are chaos, being dethroned, and being alone. If the Ruler Queen is threatened or unsettled in an untrustworthy environment, she may become emotionally unstable, arrogant, and defensive, making her impossible and prone to irrational demands. 


Pam Hogg


Black dress with collar, SS 2013

Courtesy of Pam Hogg


Archetypes of the Queen: The Heroine

The adventurous Heroine Queen is a soldier, warrior, and saviour. She has a strong sense of morality and is always in need of a battle to fight. Her strengths are competence, a willingness to embrace challenges, and bravery. Her greatest fears are weakness, softness, and cowardliness. She enjoys working hard for her relationships. She is addicted to the thrill of the chase, challenges, and relationships that lead to conflict. 

Archetypes of the Queen: The Mother Earth

The Mother Earth Queen is the mystic, creative, powerful life-giving force. Her strengths are primitive strength, instinct, and stability. Her greatest fear is not being able to reproduce. 


Maison Martin Margiela


Artisanal Collection, SS 2001

Vintage white leather gloves sewn together to create a halter-neck top

Courtesy of Maison Martin Margiela

Photo © Martina Faust


Archetypes of the Queen: The Thespian

Blessed with imagination, the Thespian Queen is an actress, entertainer, dramatist, or comedian. She loves to amuse others and enjoys the rituals and drama of life. She is keenly aware of the archetypal power contained in the masks of comedy and tragedy. Her great fear is to be constricted by routine and the inability to entertain herself and others. She would tend to dismiss the practical and mundane aspects of life. She could be overly emotional and at the extreme, even hysterical in her reactions to events or obstacles. 



A Queen Within Exhibition Media Kit

A Queen Within Press Release


7/29/21: WWD — Visual Artist Ann Ray Talks Lee McQueen, New Projects and Fashion Photography

7/29/21: Yahoo — Visual Artist Ann Ray Talks Lee McQueen, New Projects and Fashion Photography


5/29/19: Seattle Magazine — Behind-the-Scenes With MoPop's Fashion Exhibit Curators


7/16/14: STLCurator — The World Chess Hall of Fame Attracts … Hip-Hop and Fashion Lovers?

4/24/14: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Exhibit at chess hall of fame hails the power of the queen

4/16/14: St. Louis Public Radio — Arts Rundown: Queen Is Leaving; New Art Coming In

3/16/14: The New York Times — The Animal World in 3-D

3/13/14: St. Louis Public Radio — On Chess: Hall Of Fame Brings Chess To New Audiences

3/11/14: ALIVE.com — ‘A Tear In The Veil’ This Wednesday At The World Chess Hall Of Fame

2/13/14: KDHX — Interview with Shannon Bailey, Chief Curator (Audio)

2/11/14: ModernSalon.com — Hairdreams Haute Coiffure Creations by Charlie Le Mindu

1/2014: HEC-TV — State of the Arts: World Chess Hall of Fame (Video)



12/27/13: STLToday.com — 13 BEST ST. LOUIS FASHION STORIES OF 2013

12/11/13: Douban — ViE23 exclusive Zhanping: A QUEEN WITHIN Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess

12/8/13: The Chess Drum — The Drum visits “Queen” Chess Exhibit

12/3/13: Irinebrination — Book Alert: A Queen Within - Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess (Exhibition Catalogue)

12/2013: Studio 3 Magazine — On Location | The Queen's Gala at Saks Fifth Avenue 



11/6/13: TOKY — Art, Fashion & Strategy: Building an Identity for the World Chess Hall of Fame

11/5/2013: USCF — Jen on the Queen's Gala and Carlsen-Anand

11/2013: Harper's Bazaar Ukraine — Culture News

11/2013: NOOVO — "A QUEEN WITHIN- Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess"

10/31/13: Student Life — ‘A Queen Within’ brings dazzling designer couture to St. Louis

10/29/13: Modern Midwest — Ruler, Enchantress, Sage: They’re All Queens Within

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

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)


10/18/13: St. Louis Beacon — On Chess: Hall of Fame exhibit focuses on the power of the queen

10/18/13: St. Louis Public Radio — Fashion & Chess: St. Louis' World Chess Hall of Fame Presents 'A Queen Within' (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"

10/16/13: Glamour.com — INCREDIBLE Works by Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, and Martin Margiela on Display in This New Fashion Exhibit

10/8/13: Chicago Sun Times — A Royal Exhibit at the World Chess Hall of Fame

10/8/13: St. Louis Magazine — Feel Like Royalty at the World Chess Hall of Fame Exhibition Opening: A Queen Within

10/6/13: Columbia Daily Tribune — World Chess Hall of Fame explores the concept of queenliness

10/2013: ALIVE Magazine — A Queen Within

10/2013: Cosmopolitan — 19 Things to Do This Month

10/2013: Elle Decor — Style Sheet

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

9/26/13: Blouin Art Info — The Queen Gets the Royal Treatment

9/26/13: Hinsdale Living — Dedicated Followers of Fashion

9/11/13: Town & Style — A Queen Within

9/2013: Marie Claire — What Nina Loves

9/2013: St. Louis Magazine — ROYAL COUTURE

8/2013: ALIVE Magazine — "A Queen Within" Inside the World Chess Hall of Fame's Exhibition Preview in NYC

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

7/12/13: STLToday.com — Schedule of events for "A Queen Within" exhibit

7/12/13: STLToday.com — Art, fashion and chess collide in St. Louis

7/1/13: ALIVE Magazine — Fashion's Royal Queen

6/14/13: St. Louis Business Journal — Check out World Chess Hall of Fame’s ‘A Queen Within

6/11/13: The Portland Mercury — A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess

6/10/13: Twelv Magazine — A Queen Within

6/7/13: Examiner — A Queen Within exhibit: Celebrating fashion and chess

6/7/13: InStyle Magazine — How Would the Queen Piece in Chess Dress? Probably Like This

6/7/13: St. Louis Public Radio — Fashion And Art In St. Louis

6/6/13: Avenue — Chess Goes Couture at Christie’s

6/5/13: ALIVE Magazine — Live On The Scene At The World Chess Hall Of Fame’s “A Queen Within” Exhibition Preview In NYC

6/5/13: DuJour — Queen Me: When Fashion, Royalty and Chess Collide

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

6/5/13: Interview — Fashion and Chess Collide at Christie’s

6/5/13: Refinery29 — God Save The Queen! Peep These Royally Inspired Duds

6/5/13: St. Louis Magazine — World Chess Hall of Fame Previews A Queen Within in New York City

6/5/13: V Magazine — What's the Difference Between Fashion and Chess?

6/5/13: W Magazine — A Queen Within: After Hours

6/5/13: Whitewall — Checkmate: A Queen Within Preview at Christie's

6-7/2013: Christie's Catalog — 5 Things

5/30/13: Glam.com — A Queen Reigns Supreme in Fashion and Chess

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

5/30/13: St. Louis Business Journal — Fashion to get spotlight at Chess Hall of Fame

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

5/29/13: Women's Wear Daily — World Chess Hall of Fame Puts Focus on Fashion (PDF Version)

5/16/13: Ladue News — A Queen Within

5/2013: ALIVE Magazine — Style Maven—Interview with Susan Sherman


A Queen Within Exhibition Booklet

A Queen Within Gallery Guide 1/2

A Queen Within Gallery Guide 2/2

Background Image:

Viktor & Rolf, Dutch

Cutting Edge Couture Collection, SS 2010

The Coral Dress

Courtesy of H + F Collection, Museum Boijmans Van

Beuningen, Rotterdam

Photo © Carmody Creative, 2013