In the game of chess, the most powerful & unpredictable piece on the board is the queen. She embodies tradition within a patriarchal system...and yet, in the hands of the right player, can creatively redefine the rules. The World Chess Hall of Fame is celebrating this shapeshifting royal with "A Queen Within: Adorned Archetypes, Fashion and Chess" (October 2013 - April 2014). This exploration uses Jungian archetypes and archetypal patterns in literature, film, folktales & fashion photography to examine how this figure is associated with taking risks & assuming power - while still embodying the feminine. In medieval and early modern European society, queens were increasingly powerful, which is thought to behind her exceptional role in the game of chess and privileging on the board of play.
To tell this tale in such a novel way, an international team of fashion insiders, chess players, curators and thought-leaders was recruited, along with designs - both radical & experimental - from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Noritaka Tatehana, Sandra Backlund, Henrik Vibskov, Hussein Chalayan and Viktor & Rolf and Margiela.
To celebrate, they provided an advance look at the fashion fabulousness at a shindig held at Christie's in NYC. “There is something fascinating about the game of chess and the queen’s role within it," noted the exhibition's curator, Sofia Hedman. "She breaks the rules. She does what she wants on the board. When we began to research how this kind of thinking has an influence on fashion – and specifically among the private collection pieces that became the starting point for the show – we knew that there was an important story to tell.”
designers/images: top - Serena Gili 2012 (Kirill Kuletski - i-D online); middle - Octavia Xiaozi Yang / Joinery for Jewels (photo: William Tang); bottom - Rein Vollenga; Christie's event photo - BFAnyc.com (Benjamin Lozovsky and Matteo Prandoni)
- Lesley Scott