Susan Barrett never had a career path. An artist by trade, she approached her life and employment as she would a painting, “you have a general idea and then you kind of find your way to the end.” That’s why her resume reads like an accolade of aesthetically charged experiences from art consultancy to designing the world chess hall of fame. Somehow, the latter spurred her production of A Queen Within, an exhibit that explores the plurality of personalities within a queen through fashion, photography, film, and artwork. One of the most prominent designers featured in the exhibit is one of Barrett’s personal favorites—you guessed it—Alexander McQueen himself. His designs appeal to Barrett’s flare for the dramatic—ostentatious silhouettes, loud prints, and historical references. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in her closet, amidst special pieces from Molly Goddard, Richard Quinn, and Dries Van Noten. The common thread through her own personal collection and her various creative endeavors is this idea that fashion is, first and foremost, an artform. “I take a lot of chances and I take a lot of risks with clothing because for me, clothing is another form of expression,” she explains. “It changes how you feel about yourself.” Not only that, but the act of obtaining it intrigues her, as well. “I love the thrill of the hunt,” she reflects, referencing both her extensive vintage collection and the items from the exhibit. “I love finding obscure pieces.” Now if she could only outbid Lady Gaga for a pair of Alexander McQueen Armadillo boots. To hear more on that and Barrett’s relationship with personal style, click through below.

Originally posted on