Jul 20, 2017 | By Karen Chiang
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The V&A presents its major exhibition for 2015, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, the largest retrospective of the designer’s work to be showcased in Europe featuring his visionary designs. First shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2011, the London leg of the exhibition is undoubtedly bigger and better, with additional pieces on show spanning McQueen’s 1992 MA Graduate collection, to his last ever S/S 10 collection Plato’s Atlantis, as well as his unfinished A/W 10 collection among others.
Savage Beauty is organised thematically over a series of 10 rooms, with sections built around the garments. ‘London’ is the first area documenting the designer’s early creations and the creativity of these pieces, many of which have not been displayed since they were first shown on the catwalk. Other themed rooms include ‘Romantic Nationalism’ which explores McQueen’s fascination with his Scottish heritage, ‘Romantic Exoticism’ whereby his longstanding interest with Eastern cultures is examined, and ‘Romantic Naturalism’ which represents his passion for nature. Another room not to be missed is the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ which forms the heart of the exhibition, presented in a double height gallery space half way through the exhibition. Showcasing more than 120 garments and accessories, the room features catwalk videos and film footage from the designer’s many presentations, key dresses, and pieces produced in collaboration with milliner Philip Treacy and jewellers such as Shaun Leane and Sarah Harmarnee among others. Passing further on through the exhibition, ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ is also on display, a holographic 3D image of Kate Moss wearing the famous rippled organza dress for the finale of Lee’s A/W 06 catwalk show.
Featuring over 240 ensembles and accessories, this legacy to the troubled yet brilliant designer is sure to be one of the greatest exhibitions of works of a true fashion genius, beautifully curated and successfully capturing his boundless imagination and sheer talent. –Emily Cater
V&A Cromwell Road SW7 2RL / 44 (0)20 7942 2000
On view through August 2 2015
Images courtesy of the V&A