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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Savage Beauty V&A Trip

Photo: V&A

I was so lucky to be able to visit London this Friday to go to the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" exhibition at the V&A museum. It was a truly amazing experience that I feel I have waited most my life for. I have always found McQueen such an inspiration and if I had just 5% of his talent I would be a very happy designer. Having studied his designs for my Fashion degree and just through being a fan I thought there wouldn't be much I didn't know or hadn't seen. Boy was I wrong! I was almost brought to tears by what I saw and experienced. From more structured tailoring experiments through to a dress made of razor clams. My senses were totally overwhelmed and I know it will be a long time before I feel like that again.

The selection of designs on display was extremely well presented, you were taken through a pathway of different collections and stages of McQueen's career. It was almost like glancing into the different facets of his personality, reflected onto his designs. Each person that I saw looking around had a different emotion from wonder, repulsion to just being plain confused! After reading through the catalogue I came across a quote from McQueen himself that really rang true "I don't want to do a cocktail party, I'd rather people left my shows and vomited". It wasn't just a presentation of pretty dress after pretty dress. People were divided by opinions on each outfit.

On a more technical note I think the success of this exhibition is not just down to the genius of McQueen himself but also how well it was curated. I was glad that photography was not allowed, I am bored of looking at exhibits through other peoples camera/phone screens. I felt like it forced people to be part of the experience and take in every last detail and second of the journey. After going to the recent knitwear exhibition at The Fashion And Textiles Museum that was really disappointing this was a breath of fresh air. The clothes were in glass cases, catacombs, projected into glass pyramids using a victorian magic trick and shelved in a large cabinet of curiosities.

 It also has timed entry which makes sure there are only a certain amount of people in at once. I found this made it so much more enjoyable than most exhibitions I have been to (I'm not going to say anything about the stereotype of Londoners being rude). The show catalogue is also a great way to read back into the exhibition. It is really insightful on the pieces that I saw and includes all the clothes shown as well as promotional and editorial images to accompany them. It is also only £25 which I think isn't too bad considering the quality and quantity of info you get.


This is well worth a visit even if you don't know much about McQueen! Aesthetically there is a lot to appreciate and if you are interested in fashion and the design process you will be there for hours. All I wish is that I could be locked in there overnight so I could properly go around and study every exhibit close up and on my own!

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