We are quickly approaching the last month or so of the Alexander McQueen exhibition, Savage Beauty at the V&A. Hannah and Jenny were lucky enough to grab some tickets in the opening month and visit the very much anticipated show.
Walking into the exhibition you are confronted by an enormous self portrait of McQueen, creating an almost chilling but magnificent ambiance considering this great designer only passed away 5 years ago. It is a stark reminder of his still huge presence within the fashion industry.
We started at the beginning of McQueen’s fashion story, were he learnt his world renowned tailoring skills on Saville row as an apprentice. This influenced him for the rest of his life and it is seen throughout his work. This was one of Jenny’s favourite parts of the exhibition due to its more ‘ready to wear’ nature, she could imagine herself in a few of the gorgeous jackets and trousers.
The exhibition made it apparent that McQueen’s mental state was also reflected in his work. During his darker days you can see an almost macabre theme running throughout, where he uses black, animal skins, taxidermy and human hair, as well as showing Dickensian influences with cinched in waists and full skirts.
As we moved further into the exhibition, royal reds and luxurious fabrics started to appear, as well as the famous McQueen tartan creating a regal atmosphere. His Scottish heritage was very important to him and it shows within his work. Within this particular room there were stunning headdresses for the catwalk show ‘The Girl That Lived In A Tree’, using thousands of Swarovski crystals, delicately set and strung between antler-like tiaras.
The most exciting room for Hannah and Jenny was a cabinet of curiosities. The walls were completely covered from floor to ceiling in pieces from various McQueen shows, which was almost overwhelming. This included beautiful pieces of jewellery made by a variety of artists and jewellers in collaboration with McQueen himself. These pieces were accompanied by video footage and music taken from said shows, giving another dimension and bringing the clothing to life.
Further along in Alexander McQueen’s career he seemed to have taken on a more romantic approach and had pulled influences from Asia and the natural world. Beautifully embroidered Asian inspired clothing brought a calmness back to the show, using muted colours and dreamy fabrics. The amount of detail that goes into each piece is awe inspiring and gives both Jenny and Hannah something to take away and bring back to the jewellery world that we work in.
The attention to detail is staggering and shows the dedication and passion that McQueen put into his clothing and his catwalks. This phenomenal designer could teach us crafts people a thing or two that is for sure.
An inspiring and almost overwhelming afternoon out, make sure you do not miss!