Savage Beauty @ the V&A

How many of you have been to visit the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” exhibition at the V&A? I visited in the middle of May and it was jam packed. I queued to get in, unexpectedly considering the exhibition had been open for over 2 months. When the exhibition was at the Met in New York, it was the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history and the most popular fashion exhibition in history; I suspect the result will be similar at the V&A.

The Shalom Harlow dress, mentioned below.

Now everybody loves Alexander McQueen. In fashion, it’s almost blasphemous to say you don’t. He has an appeal which reaches beyond fashion to the masses. Everybody knows who Alexander McQueen was, or at least they’ve heard the name. There’s even calls for his face to be on the £20 note (although somehow I think he’d hate that). He really is a national treasure.

The first “Savage Beauty” exhibition was shown in New York back in 2011, a little over a year after McQueen’s death, and I think, from what I’ve read, the exhibition shown in London is pretty much the same. It is split up into sections such as “Romantic Naturalism” and “Romantic Exoticism”, and features pieces from all of his collections, starting from his graduate collection at CSM. You even got to see the Kate Moss hologram in real life, and it was maybe my favourite thing from the exhibition.


Unfortunately, I can’t include any photos (I didn’t even try to take any) because they’re pretty strict about that in the V&A. I really hate that, you should always be allowed to take photos. Really, the only way to see the exhibition is to visit yourself. I can tell you that everything I wanted to, and expected to, see was there. The Sarabande dress with the flowers; my favourite pieces from the Plato’s Atlantis collection; loads from Voss, The Widows of Culloden, and It’s Only a Game. Also, the exhibition shop was great too.

My only complaint was how busy it was inside the exhibition (and the aforementioned photo ban). Most time slots were sold out all day, but I thought by 5pm when I went it would be quieter. The volume of people going in at each time wasn’t the problem, more so the volume of people leaving (read: not enough people left). I get that people want to stay and take their time, absorbing everything around them, but there was one room with high ceilings and the walls were filled with dresses, headpieces, and accessories. In the centre of the room was a raised platform with the spray-painted dress that Shalom Harlow wore and there’s a bench all around the base of the platform. I think for optimum viewing of the pieces, you needed to sit down and look up, but of course it was so busy and some people sat there for ages (at least 15 minutes, which doesn’t sound like much but is a long time in the context). Also, I wish I could’ve gotten a better look at the Shalom Harlow dress without practically sitting on someone’s lap.

If you get the chance, definitely go and see the exhibition. It’s really worth a visit, especially because it’s not often you get the chance to see McQueen’s body of work in its almost entirety.

The exhibition runs at the V&A in London until 2nd August 2015. Tickets can be bought here

PS – I just did a Google Image search for the photos and linked them via url, I think this means the source can be traced.

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