When Eurostar invites you to visit the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” V&A exhibit in London, the only possible answer is “YES”! No doubt about that. Was the trip worth it? That’s about as understated as can be. I’ll tell you a little more about what is probably the most beautiful fashion expo I’ve ever seen.
“I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or a way of cutting, so that when I’m dead and gone people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen.”
I’m an early day Lee Alexander McQueen fan. He was one of the first contemporary fashion designers that caught my young and style savvy eye. So when I entered the admission test for the Academy of Arts in Ghent to study Fashion Design back in 2007, I chose McQueen as my favorite designer.
What made Alexander so interesting to me wasn’t his wearability or clever ways of incorporating creative design into a commercial form, no it was the emotions and stories he created with his collections. His work spoke to me like the Romantic arts movement had always done: leaving me emotional and melancholic. Thankful for the beauty of nature.
“I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.”
He was a true artist, alongside being a brilliant tailor. You can always perceive his classic Savile Row techniques in any of his creations. A much underestimated trade in fashion these days. No need for gimmicks or big hollow statements, a good story and his craftsmanship would do.
“Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes. That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers.”
The V&A Museum and curator Claire Wilcox did a great job adjusting the 2011 NY exhibition, adding 66 new styles to create McQueen’s universe.
My favorite rooms include Romantic Nationalism, where he goes overboard on the love for his Scottish roots; the Cabinet Of Curiosities, a high walled room stocked with silhouettes, catwalk films and accessories to dwell in for hours; The Hologram Room where you see Kate Moss as Pepper’s Ghost, one of the Widows of Culloden (AW 2006), a nymph in organza, fluid and elusive; Romantic Exoticism where he combines his flair for romance and drama with Japanese dress forms; and last but definitely not least Plato’s Atlantis, his last finished collection in 2010, depicting a futuristic world where the ice caps have melted and humans have adapted to live under the sea, including alien like sculpted dresses, psychedelic laser prints and the famous armadillo shoe.
The exhibition is entwined with McQueen quotes, giving you an insight into his melancholic and creative mind. A mind that is no more, but has returned to nature itself, his ultimate inspiration.
“It was about trying to trap something that wasn’t conventionally beautiful to show that beauty comes from within.”
INFO: “Savage Beauty” is definitely worth a trip to London! Good to know: when traveling with Eurostar, you can get 2 museum entrance tickets for the price of 1. A ticket will cost you 16£, more than worth it! The expo will run until the 2nd of August at the V&A Museum in London and is very popular, so be sure to book your ticket in advance. Use the promo code VAM15 on the museum website, your proof of reservation and your Eurostar ticket will serve as admission ticket. Try to avoid crowds, this expo is at it’s best when you can embrace all the details in peace.