Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A


V&A London presents a major retrospective of fashion enfant terrible Alexander McQueen

This spring in London the V&A museum will present Europe’s only major retrospective of the work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

Frequently dubbed a fashion rebel, Lee Alexander McQueen was a true visionary who became world renowned for his extraordinarily imaginative designs.

A proud gay man (he once famously called himself “the pink sheep of the family”) and at one time married to George Forsyth, he was famed for his innovation and celebrated by everyone, from the fashion press to his models and his clients.

“The pink sheep of the family”

McQueen managed to combine a fundamental grasp of tailoring with a bewildering array of eclectic influences, often challenging where fashion and art meets.

This exhibition, called “Savage Beauty”, was originated by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but will be expanded for the V&A featuring 30 additional garments including some rare early pieces from the Isabella Blow Collection and the House of Givenchy, including a red ballet dress from The Girl Who Lived in the Tree and a white feathered dress from The Horn of Plenty.

In total around 200 ensembles and accessories will be featured – from McQueen’s Central Saint Martins’ postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final designs in 2010 completed after his death.

A brand new section will be added that focuses on his early development as a designer, and each section will be built around his often provocative and dramatic catwalk shows, combining his trademark ability for storytelling and the theatrical.

Each section will be built around his often provocative and dramatic catwalk shows

Famous examples recreated in the exhibition include the stunning moment when Kate Moss came out in a gown of rippling organza as a holographic 3D image for the Widows of Culloden show, and the Cabinet of Curiosities showcasing his designs in collaboration with designers such as jeweller Shaun Leane and milliner Philip Treacy.

Film footage of nearly all of McQueen’s catwalk shows will be included, built around themes including subversive tailoring, Gothic sensibility, Dark/Light, primitivism and the animal world, heritage and ancestry, nature and the natural world, and technology and handcraft.

The exhibition is being curated by Claire Wilcox, Senior Curator of Fashion, V&A and Professor in Fashion Curation, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

In a big year for celebrating Alexander McQueen in London, Tate Britain will also be running an exhibition of photos by Nick Waplington of Alexander McQueen’s working process from 10 March to 17 May 2015.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, in partnership with Swarovski, supported by American Express and made possible with the co-operation of Alexander McQueen.

14 March to 19 July 2015
www.vam.ac.uk/savagebeauty