The Alexander McQueen exhibit Savage Beauty at the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) is spectacular.
I have been to several exhibits at the V&A over the last few years. David Bowie was good, Horst was a pleasant surprise, the Italian exhibit was a disappointment. But the Alexander McQueen exhibit is not to be missed. It has been so popular that my husband and I got tickets for, get this, 8:45 AM on a Sunday morning. I was great. There were people there but it wasn’t crowded.
It starts with his craftsmanship in tailoring, then takes you right into some really dramatic pieces, each room a new visceral experience.
I want to empower women. I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.
And many of his designs are very powerful.
I am not much for birds. Don’t get me wrong I like birds, but I don’t really think about them much. Since starting in millinery, I think about them a lot more, particularly their feathers. McQueen’s use of feathers is astounding.
“I don’t see it as aggressive – I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of a personality.”
Not long after moving to London, my daughter and I were getting on the tube, and there was a man in front of us with the most amazing shoes. To my daughter’s embarrassment, I asked him about his shoes, he said they were Alexander McQueen. That was the first time I remember connecting that name with a piece of clothing. They looked something like this.
Things start to connect. Alexander McQueen’s graduation collection was bought by Isabella Blow. Phillip Treacy made lots of hats and head pieces for Isabella Blow and for Alexander McQueen. I don’t know the order of things, but it is cool when things start connecting. I’d heard of the Phillip Treacy butterfly headdress, but I hadn’t known it was made for Alexander McQueen.
Whether you are into fashion or not, this exhibit has something for everyone. Just to give you an idea of the breadth of experience. My husband who is in the Technology field and a friend’s husband who is a taxi driver, both enjoyed it.
I hate to over sell the exhibit and have you be disappointed, but there were times that I was nearly in tears at the extent of his creativity and mastery. The time, the materials, the craftsmanship, sigh. However with that said many of the things on exhibit are definitely wearable art / performance wear.
In the 1990’s McQueen’s trousers often were very, very low in the back and seemed to just cling to the buttocks, known as Bumsters. Wasn’t this about the time when this low back tattoos became popular. We used to call them whale tale tattoos. I wonder if those two things are related.
many of the images were from the V&A website, shoe image from sneakerfreaker.com,