1. Extraordinary intellectual and creative power.
2. A person of extraordinary intellect and talent.
Not too long ago, in a little restaurant off the beaten path in Paris, I found myself in a heated debate with a renowned (but contentious) French violinst over the definition of “genius”. He challenged me to name a person who can truly be called a genius. In his mind, only the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach could qualify. I was left a bit speechless. While we throw the word “genius” around quite a bit, who really truly deserves that label? Who can live up to Bach?
It wasn’t until after I left the restaurant on my walk to the hotel that the answer hit me… “Of course, Alexander McQueen!” Anyone lucky enough to have experienced the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 would understand. And if you have been following the work of Sarah Burton, who was given the momentous task of carrying on his legacy since his death, one might possibly say that she, too, can wear that title.
I never miss perusing through Alexander McQueen’s collections each season, but something in their Resort 2013 collection stopped me dead in my tracks. There in front of me, reinterpreted as a belt and accent on a sculpted shoe, was our very own iconic 4-Link Bracelet, designed by Seaman Schepps circa 1940s! I flipped through the rest of the collection with the urgency of a little kid who’s just been told that I could take as much candy as I wanted. 10 of out 28 looks featured this belt. Needless to say, the looks were stunning.
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I couldn’t help feeling chuffed that somebody over at McQueen–quite possibly Burton herself–took inspiration from Seaman Schepps. It really goes to show that even more than 40 years after his death, Schepps’ creativity and influence are still alive and well today… and find ways into genius design everywhere.
And THAT is a true sign of genius, wouldn’t you say?