The Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition hosted at the V&A in London is the first and largest reminiscent retrospective to be displayed in Europe.
McQueen pushed the boundaries with design; he created out of this realm collections and he innovated the world of fashion. His work was more like masterpieces than most wearable fashion; it evoked more emotion and feeling toward the craft and his dexterity revealed a more visualized bridge between clothing and art.
I visited the exhibition which is running until the 2nd of August and I was captivated by the garments and sheer feel of the atmosphere. I couldn’t help but be in complete awe of the avant–garde collections and know how much passion, hard work and pure creativity went on behind every stitch.
He designed things that were never seen before and introduced new technologies and concepts to the fashion world such as a live spray painting, as if the design of the garment was being taken place in front of the audience’s eyes, an erratic and spontaneous print coming alive in the middle of the show.
There is a definitive romanticised gothic fetishism running through the themes of his work and the female form inspired many of his collections, alongside nature apparent in the Horn of Plenty autumn/winter 2009 collection. The enlarged and exaggerated translation of his signature silhouette style presented a distinct aesthetic of primitivism and naturalism. Gothic was an enduring inspiration for McQueen; “I oscillate between life and death, happiness and sadness, good and evil.” He romanticised a theme in which was inspired by death row; Voss (Autumn/winter 2001). He explored the pretence of aggressiveness and developed it into something dark and romantic.
The exhibition takes you from the beginning, his first graduate collection to the last realised agglomeration before his death in 2010; Plato’s Atlantis (spring/summer 2010). Throughout, we are exposed to the emotional intensity that being surrounded by his work evokes, the intended feeling and emotion is well transmitted and communicated through the curation of the exhibit. We see the mood in each room translate perfectly with the collection. Explanations, quotes and information about the garments are found on the walls throughout to enable us to take in by reading what the garments are communicating visually.
We are absorbed in other worldly ideas of clothing and fashion through the silhouettes and fabrics, latex, horse hair, metal bodices, plastic, painted feathers and so on corresponds with the ingenious unlimited visions of the talented designer.
The dramatized silhouettes, fabrics and clever pattern cutting bring together timeless art within a theme of darkness; it goes way beyond wearable fashion. Savage Beauty appraises not only the garments themselves but the emotion, drama and feeling behind each piece. This exhibition is a must see for any fashion lover, McQueen fan or just anybody that appreciates beautiful, craftsmanship that dominated an ever growing and fast paced industry for being captivating and sometimes misunderstood.