Alexander Mc Queen’s Savage Beauty exhibition arrives in London

After the huge sell-out run at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 Savage Beauty exhibition finally goes on show in the U.K at Victoria & Albert museum.

Text: Evi Mili

fwbvk.alexandermcq_1 Courtesy of Alexander McQueen ,
Photograph by Solve Sundbo/Art+Commerce


The Savage Beauty show attracted more than 660,000 visitors in 2011 making it the eighth most visited costume exhibition in the Met’s history.

 Lines for the exhibition ‘Alexander Mc Queen:Savage Beauty’ around both sides of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York


The exhibition was organized by Andrew Bolton, celebrated the late Alexander Mc Queen’s extraordinary contributions to fashion. The show is composed of six separate galleries arranged by theme: ‘The Romantic Mind’, featuring some of his oldest work in the early 90’s, ‘Romantic Gothic and the Cabinet of Curiosities’ featuring his exploration of Victorian Gothic themes, ‘Romantic Nationalism’ examining Scottish and British identity, ‘Romantic Exoticism’ examining non western influences in his designs, ‘Romantic Primitivism’ featuring natural materials and organic designs and ‘Romantic Naturalism’ featuring his attempts to integrate themes of the natural world with technology.

Pieces from the ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition

Although the British version will have some changes in curation which definitely will alter the visitor’s experience. According to a room dedicated to Mc Queen’s first steps as a London designer will be added to the original New York exhibition exploring the years of his work in the city that was born and raised. A hologram of one of his dearest friends, Kate Moss, will be restored to almost life size for the London show. More than 30 new garments will be showed including the famous red ballet dress from ‘The girl who lived in the tree‘ (a/w 2008-2009) and a white feathered dress from ‘The horn of plenty’ (a/w 2009-2010).The finale of the show will centre on McQueen’s last realized collection named ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ (s/s 2010) in which the designer’s interest about nature and technology became his inspiration.

With one of his closest friend Kate Moss

The breathtaking red ballet dress from the collection ’The Girl Who Lived in the Tree’

The Romantic Mind

‘You’ve got to know the rules to break them. That’s what I’m here for, to demolish the rules but to keep the tradition.’
– Alexander McQueen

Featured objects: Coat ‘Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims’ , ‘Bumster’ Skirt ‘Highland Rape’ , Dress ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ , Jacket ‘Joan’ , Jacket ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ , Coat ‘Dante’.

Romantic Gothic and Cabinet of Curiosities

‘People find my things sometimes aggressive. But I don’t see it as aggressive. I see it as romantic, dealing with a dark side of personality.’
– Alexander McQueen

Featured objects: Corset ‘Dante’ , Ensemble ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ , Ensemble a/w 2010 , Dress ‘The Horn of Plenty’ , Ensemble ‘Eclect Dissect’ , ‘Spine’ Corset Untitled , ‘Coiled’ Corset  ‘The Overlook’ , Ensemble ‘The Hunger’ , Dress ‘It’s only a Game’ , Ensemble ‘No.13’ ,  Dress ‘No.13’.

Romantic Nationalism

‘The reason I’m patriotic about Scotland is because I think it’s been dealt a really hard hand.It’s marketed the world over as …haggis..badpipes. But no one ever puts anything back into it.’
-Alexander Mc Queen

Featured Objects: Dress ‘Highland Rape’ , Ensemble ‘Widow of Culloden’ , Dress ‘Widow of Culloden’ , Ensemble ‘The Girl Who Lived in the Tree’ , Ensemble ‘The Girl Who Lived in the Tree’ 

Romantic Exoticism

‘I want to be honest about the world that we live in, and sometimes my political persuasions come through in my work. 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.’
-Alexander Mc Queen

Featured Objects: Ensemble ‘It’s Only a Game’ , Ensemble ‘It’s Only a Game’, Ensemble ‘VOSS’ , Ensemble ‘VOSS’ , Dress ‘VOSS’

Romantic Primitivism

‘I try to push the silhouette. To change the silhouette is to change the thinking og how we look. What I do is look at ancient African tribes and the way they dress. The rituals of how they dress… There’s  a lot of tribalism in the collections.’
-Alexander  Mc Queen

Featured Objects: Coat ‘Eshu’ , Dress ‘Eshu’ , Ensemble ’Eshu’ , Bodysuit ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ , Ensemble ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’ , ‘Oyster’ Dress ‘Irene’

Romantic Naturalism

‘I have always loved the mechanics of nature and to a greater or lesser extent my work is always informed by that.’
– Alexander McQueen

Featured Objects: Dress ‘Plato’s Atlantis’ , ‘Jellyfish’ Ensemble ‘ Plato’s Atlantis’ , Dress ‘Widows of Culloden’ , Dress ‘Sarabande’ , Dress ‘Widows of Culloden’ , Dress ‘Sarabande’

Alexander Mc Queen: Savage Beauty runs from 14 March – 19 July 2015



Photo Credits: Gallery Photography by the Photograph Studio, The Metropolitan Museum

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