While the members New York’s fashion elite are seldom known for their chess skills, it did not stop them from coming out in droves yesterday evening to take in Christie’s “A Queen Within” exhibit. The presentation featured a selection of high fashion and couture pieces that embody the archetype of the queen and her role as the most powerful piece on the chessboard. Like any good queen, the exhibit was equal parts logic and beauty.
“The queen is considered to be the most unpredictable piece, but also the most powerful,” says Sofia Hedman, the exhibit’s curator. Yesterday’s display at Christie’s was an amuse-bouche for Hedman’s 3,000-square-foot exhibit, to be shown at Saint Louis’ World Chess Hall of Fame this October. The curator drew on designers from Maison Martin Margiela to Pam Hog to illustrate the nine personae of the queen, which include mother, enchantress, and ruler. The designer most prominently featured was, fittingly, Alexander McQueen. “It’s very moving that all his pieces can be shared and displayed for such a great number of people,” says Anne Deniau, whose intimate photographs backstage at McQueen’s shows were on display at the event.
Though most attendees looked more Park Avenue than Buckingham Palace, British socialite Annabelle Neilson, who was being trailed by BBC cameras, was sheer royalty in a black, floor-length McQueen frock. When asked how she channels her inner queen, she exclaims, “On the outside!” Other fashion royalty in attendance included Simon Doonan, Indre Rockefeller, and Stefano Tonchi. An evening fit for a queen or, at the very least, an Upper East Side princess.