Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is coming to London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in March. This must-visit exhibition showcases the late fashion designer’s work, with pieces from his 1992 MA graduate collection to his unfinished collection of A/W 2010. It will be the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work in Europe.
London born Lee Alexander McQueen began his fashion career in an apprenticeship in Savile Row tailors Gieves & Hawkes. Whilst there his clients included Mikhail Gorbachev and Prince Charles, and he quickly became known for creating perfectly tailored looks. In 1992, McQueen earned his Masters in Fashion design from London’s Central Saint Martins – his entire graduate collection was bought by fashion stylist Isabella Blow. McQueen replaced John Galliano as Chief Designer at Givenchy in 1996. His first couture collection was unsuccessful, he himself called it ‘crap, but he still continued to develop his love of theatrics and shock tactics there until 2001.
In 2002 he founded his namesake fashion label, which built a reputation quickly for controversy and unconventional shows; his fall 2006 show featured a life-size hologram of Kate Moss. With trousers called ‘bumsters’ and a collection named ‘The Highland Rape’, McQueen earned himself the nickname ‘the hooligan of English Fashion.’ This did not deter his success, however, and he was named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003. He also won British Designer of year four times.
The Fashion world was shocked in 2011 when the news broke McQueen, aged 40, had died. His death was ruled as a suicide. Tributes poured out from fellow fashion designers, celebrities and fans alike. Lady Gaga dedicated a song to him on a special edition of album Born This Way. Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss were among many paying visual tributes by wearing McQueen’s striking ‘manta’ dresses.
Savage Beauty was first displayed in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 and become one of the most visited exhibitions ever held at the Met. It’s popularity ensured it was extended by a week in New York and a campaign made sure to bring it London. According to the V&A, McQueen’s designs will be shown with ‘dramatic staging and sense of spectacle synonymous with his runway shows.’
Chief executive officer of Alexander McQueen, Jonathan Akeroyd says Savage Beauty is “a story telling of the most imaginative and talented designer of our time.” He also stated, “We are incredibly proud as a house to be able to showcase Lee’s visionary body of work in London as a celebration of his legacy and an inspiration to a future generation.”
This incredible exhibition runs from 14 March – 2 August 2015. Tickets are £16 but free for members.