Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Fashion: Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty Exhibition In London

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty Exhibition

Hi ladies, I went to London for a few days earlier this month and the big highlight of my stay was a trip over to the Victoria & Albert Museum to visit the iconic and much talked about fashion exhibition Savage Beauty by Alexander McQueen. The exhibition showcases masterpieces of the designer who sadly passed away in 2010.

Victoria and Albert Museum in London

To be honest with you, I knew very little about the British designer who committed suicide in 2010. Before my visit to the exhibition, I have to confess I ignorantly expected to see clothes presented in a museum but I couldn't have been more wrong.

Savage Beauty is in the first place an art exhibition dedicated to the incredible work and contribution to fashion by the artist McQueen. You won’t see ‘mere clothes’ exhibited but expect 10 lavish rooms with instalments to reflect McQueen’s genius heritage.   

The pieces showcased at Savage Beauty are on a high and different level of fashion to any other clothes that I've seen before. The 'clothes' are no longer ordinary tailored fabrics for the everyday use, but they are specifically used to stir imagination and to open up an entire new world to delve in. Textiles and natural materials including clams and even human hair have been used by McQueen to create disturbing, yet stunning and energetic designs. It becomes very clear how sophisticated he made use of everything that went through his hands (and mind). Like a carver uses wood for his sculptures or a painter different colours for his paintings, McQueen created art work which could only come to life if you'd actually put life, in this case a model, in it.

Entrance to Savage Beauty exhibition in London

|The Exhibition|

Please note: Photography and recording are not permitted at the exhibition. All of the following pictures of Savage Beauty are press pictures provided by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The artist is Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A, 2015.

Installation view of London gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the VA c Victoria and Albert Museum London

Savage Beauty Alexander McQueen

The first three instalments cover shows and collections of the late 90's introducing the artist's morbid style. The moment you enter the exhibition you are completely consumed by its exclusive sinister atmosphere created through melancholy music and gloomy light. There's an air machine somewhere that sends over a breeze that will give you a chill now and again. A runway show on display in the background contributes to the instalment and in front of you are mannequins with Hannibal Lecter masks silently waiting for you to examine them. Cold and strong do they look down on you and you feel the destructive energy and powerful aura that surrounds them. You can get quite close, obviously, you can't touch, but you can feel and breath in the inspiration that went into the designs.

It is that exceptional interplay of music, art work and display that create this overwhelming atmosphere and will only give you a glimpse of how magnificent the collection must have been in an actual show.

Installation view of Romantic Gothic gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London.

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty London

Under the name 'Romantic Gothic' the third instalment stages Givenchy's second show. It focuses on the morbid theme women were taken into laboratories for animal crossbred experiments. The disturbing outfits were designed for Bird Women which actually freaked me out a bit. Again, the atmosphere is enormous, sinister and destructive and I examined each piece with great fascination. I haven't got a picture of the piece, but it was overall made of black feathers which made me feel uncomfortable because the thought of it worn by a model felt really creepy. 

Installation view of Romantic Primitivism gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the VA c Victoria and Albert Museum London

Alexander McQueen fashion installation Savage Beauty

Installation view of Cabinet of Curiosities gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the VA c Victoria and Albert Museum London

The room of curiosities Savage Beauty

After the Scottish tartan inspired 'The Widows of Culloden' and 'The Girl Who Lived In The Tree' collection, you'll find yourself in the 'Room of Curiosities'. This box-shaped room hosts numerous outfits and individual accessories, such as the famous butterfly headdress, shoes and props from McQueen's shows. In the middle, there's a seating area to find a moment to take in all of these random pieces and to fully appreciate them. Some of them will rotate in their box and no matter where you'll look you can always spot something new.

Installation view of Romantic Exoticism gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

Installation view of Romantic Exoticism gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

Installation view of Voss Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

Installation view of Voss Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

With The Voss collection, McQueen's designs become less aggressive and morbid, though they are still energetic and extravagant. Elements of his love for the baroque period are woven into his work, such as patterns and materials. The Voss show was presented in a double-sided mirrored box, so the models couldn't see the audience but walked towards a mirror instead. This exterior element adds an additional artistic touch to McQueen's show and again highlights his sophisticated approach to using fashion as an expressive art form.

Installation view of Romantic Naturalism gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

Installation view of Romantic Naturalism gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

After The Voss and a mesmerising hologram of Kate Moss, there's the Romantic Naturalism collection which features flowers, clam shell dresses and antler veils. I found the designs very pleasing to look at and they take you on a journey into a natural fairy tale world.  

Installation view of Plato's Atlantis Gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

 Installation view of Platos Atlantis gallery Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the Victoria and Albert Museum London

The last installation featured one of the last collections of McQueen which consisted of futuristic, alien-like outfits and styles. The room accompanied with loud music and a film created especially for the show, made you feel as part of the audience of the fashion show. It was an amazing experience to feel the vibe of the show and to once again enjoy and appreciate McQueen's work as close as it could get to the original show. 

Overall I spent more than an hour in the exhibition and I didn't regret the ticket price of £20 in a single moment. Not only is the exhibition worth seeing because of McQueen's stunning work but also for the extraordinary work of the team at the V&A. The installations were fantastic and the exhibits were chosen so carefully and showcased in the way that each individual piece spoke for itself and more than any description would have done. Music, air machine, video display, display designs and arrangement of exhibits engaged me at all times and made me deal with McQueen's personality, thoughts and ideas in every moment of my visit. 

The free spirit and passionate art lover that I am, I found myself constantly analysing every detail. As I've said at the beginning of the post, I didn't know much about Alexander McQueen but just by spending some time at this exhibition I feel like I understand a lot more of his art and personality now. If you've been to the exhibition, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section or leave me a link to your post if you've written one. For anybody else, I can just highly recommend to book their tickets and to go and see it. Savage Beauty runs until August and there's a limited ticket contingent per day with some months already completely sold out.

Thank you so much for reading today's post. Have you visited the exhibition or are you planning to see it? Do you have a designer you admire? Do you like fashion related exhibitions? If you've enjoyed reading about Alexander McQueen's fashion exhibition, I've also covered The Henry Moore Burberry Exhibition and visited the Undressed Underwear Exhibition at the V&A. 

Till next time,

xx Caz xx

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*Press pictures provided by Victoria & Albert Museum London.
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