Alexander McQueen’s Incredibly Savage Beauty
“Fashion should be a form of escapism, not a form of imprisonment.”
We couldn’t agree more with the late, great Alexander McQueen there. We love seeing designers who provoke, inspire and make dressing up more than just a daily chore.
Flights of fantasy? Creative, whimsical fun? That’s exactly what we’re about. And why we were so super-excited to see McQueen’s work at the recent retrospective at the V&A Museum.
Let’s just say – we weren’t disappointed. After all, it was McQueen we were dealing with here.
Fashion – Meet Drama
First things first, this exhibition is not like any other fashion designer retrospective you might have seen. It’s not simply a flashback of different looks and styles, peppered with runway shots and the requisite glammed up model editorial stills.
This is a total immersion into all things McQueen. Which goes to say – you’re diving headfirst into a world of sensuousness, opulent beauty, and plenty of glamour too – all offset with a hard, spiky edge of something quite different entirely.
One of the most striking centrepieces is the Romantic Gallery. Observing this feels like seeing a collection of incredibly haughty classical portraits brought to life. That amazing golden feather dress that was all over the magazines? You’ll find yourself staring at it, totally transfixed.
It’s great to see that McQueen’s spirit of drama hasn’t been dismissed in this exhibition. Instead – it comes right to the foreground.
There’s an awesome reminder of that heart-stopping Kate Moss holograph, and some brilliant photography capturing his past collections, that go far beyond your average fashion editorial.
Curiouser and curiouser
McQueen was never one to shy away from the shock factor. He lapped it up – playing to the audience, by creating increasingly challenging, mindwarping pieces, blurring the lines between fashion and art.
There’s a fantastic part of this show that’s dedicated to just that spirit of curiousness and exploration – called, aptly enough – the Cabinet of Curiosities.
Step in, and the sound of slightly manic scissors slash away around you. Glimpses of some of the best moments from past runway shows are playing, and around the room, various weird and wonderful accessories are poised.
Move on to the next set of rooms – where the mannequins are whirling around and the lights brighten into a dreamlike intensity. It’s a really visceral and exciting way to experience his creations close up.
Whether you’re a huge fashionista, art lover, or somewhere in between – this is definitely a show worth seeing. It’s a chance to experience the creative force of someone truly passionate about what he did – and discover how you might just sample a little bit of that energy to bring into your own life.