'Savage Beauty'


Following the success of New York's Savage Beauty, McQueen finally came home. Within this I got invited to a private viewing of the exhibition, this was conducted by Judith Watt who not only gave us a tour of the exhibition but is also the author of Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy , thus resulting is vast knowledge on not only the exhibition but also upon Lee Alexander McQueen himself.


After being greeted with a Lipton Ice Tea presented in a jar along side beautifully presented fruit, the tour begun. First Judith gave a brief introduction to the tour and summarised what the morning would entail. We then entered the exhibition show space and was met with a slow moving image that mirrored the cover of The Met's Savage Beauty book cover. This was the first piece of McQueen that you see. From skull to Lee the image constantly changing not only reflected that of McQueen but one that represented his love for skulls and beauty he found within them and the inspiration that he drew from them. Then the room was filled with the sound of McQueen's laugh and quotes from other people that all focusing on the genius himself, every room also had a quote from the man himself.


Judith Watt said something at the very begging of the talk that really spoke to me. This is not a direct quote, just what I can recall. "Though out the tour I will be referring to Alexander McQueen as Lee. This is because the brand 'Alexander McQueen' has now become something that just isn't Lee Alexander McQueen"


Once into the exhibition you are greeted by a hand full of piece's from Lee's very first collections 'Highland Rape, Autumn Winter 1995' and 'The Birds, Spring Summer 1995' these collections started off Lee McQueen's career, and this starting the exhibition. Personally to me it was utterly breath taking to see the garments that made him who he is today. 'Highland Rape' is one of my favourite collections and seeing the garment in all in glory only a few feet away from me was truly a moment in my life that I will never forget. These collections created a huge controversy when it came to the media and it was truly humbling to see them displayed in a museum, where they should be (Of course after the runway). It was beautiful to see the garment place along side the a video of the runway show and this allowed you to envision what the garment looked like in motion and in there natural environment where McQueen envisioned them. Judith explained and went into detail upon the media and there constant attacks on McQueen, the inspiration behind the collect, and even the why the collection where name and what the story behind them.


"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

Alexander Lee McQueen is and was still one of the only designers who put a name each and every collection. They told a story, represented a story and just overall showed the inner workings of McQueen who is a genius of our generation. This may only be small but the impact of putting a name to something makes it feel more personal and like a title of a book.


'Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims ' was of course and all time favourite for McQueen and took inspiration for his graduation collection. Lee McQueen took most of his inspiration from East London street's. And thus resulting in McQueen producing his 'Jack The Ripper Stalks His Victims' collection. Not only did McQueen create a collection from this story but used elements to create something extra extraordinary. Allegedly Jack used to snip a section of his victims hair and keep as a momentum of love and ownership. This then inspired McQueen to do the same, a label wasn't used but a section of his own hair displayed in a PVC pack. This collection infused sharp tailoring with soft features from a variety of historical eras/ This collection showcased the talent of McQueen and although the media had very strong negative views on McQueen. Isabella Blow saw other wise. This resulted in her then buying the entire collection, this was the start of a beautiful friendship between Blow and McQueen, Blow became a muse for McQueen and without her helping-hand the collections we see from McQueen would not be the same as we seen them today.

Framed in a glass box was five piece's from McQueen's last and final collection. Lee McQueen never got to finish this collection and was finished off by his successor Sarah Burton. This may have been McQueen's last collection designed by the man himself but it will never truly be his last collection. 'Plato Atlas' to me and most McQueen fans will say is last collection, and of course this collection was the one to close the exhibition. 'Plato Atlas' is McQueen's vision of the future. How we will all go back to our roots of natural elements.


Each room in the exhibition had a completely different environment and the next room was and is the only room that differs from the New York exhibition. With bones and skulls from top to bottom you were truly immerse in the world of McQueen, and personally when I entered the 'Romantic Primitivism' I myself felt like I was inside Lee Alexander McQueen's head. I have now visited the exhibition twice and will be going again at the end of the month and each time the room draws new inspiration for me and brings me everything I want from and exhibition on McQueen. It is truly so sad that McQueen will never get to see his own beautiful collections displayed in his home county the way they should be. But I know he would be proud of what both London and New York have done.

Each room in the exhibition had a completely different environment and the next room was and is the only room that differs from the New York exhibition. With bones and skulls from top to bottom you were truly immerse in the world of McQueen, and personally when I entered the 'Romantic Primitivism' I myself felt like I was inside Lee Alexander McQueen's head. I have now visited the exhibition twice and will be going again at the end of the month and each time the room draws new inspiration for me and brings me everything I want from and exhibition on McQueen. It is truly so sad that McQueen will never get to see his own beautiful collections displayed in his home county the way they should be. But I know he would be proud of what both London and New York have done.


The attention to detail of the rooms did not draw any attention away from the garments but enhanced and brought together the mind of McQueen. Because McQueen's mind never slowed down and he was constantly creating collections and within these collections many garments where shown, not all of McQueen's work could go on display. This is where the 'Cabinet Of Curiosities' came into toll, this room not only displayed garments, but also shoes, hats and also runway shows. I felt like it was very important to have TV's displaying videos of McQueen's runway show as this, to me, is what made me fall in love with McQueen. McQueen never just sent his models down the catwalk to a piece of music to walk up and down in a straight line, he turned the runway into a piece of art in itself. For example in his collection 'It's Only A Game' McQueen didn't use a runway, but a chess board and the model's where the piece's and the entire show was a huge chess game. McQueen used every inch of his runway time to be creative, showcase something new and above all create art. When it comes to video technology in 'Windows of Culloden' Kate Moss modelled for a 3D hologram at was displayed as part of the runway show in 2006. This 3D hologram and has been installed into the Savage Beauty exhibition. When the video was first showcased it had never been seen before and this truly showed the inner creativity of McQueen. Breaking the boundary's, finding and creating new things that had never been seen before in the world of fashion. This really gave an extra element to the exhibition. If you where fully emerged in the world of McQueen. You would be after this.

To me McQueen completely changed the way I saw fashion, from a very young age McQueen took art and fashion and turned in into a performance of creativity. Since Lee Alexander McQueen ruled the runway the world of fashion has never been the same. The Savage Beauty in London brings home the work of McQueen, his genius garments, shows and displays them in a way that does nothing but compliment the concepts that McQueen came up with. The exhibition is open until the 2nd of August and is selling out fast, Savage Beauty is not only the must see exhibition of the summer but of the year and I highlight recommend it to anyone, no matter how big or small of a fan, you wont regret. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum website for more details www.vam.ac.uk/


"Beauty can come from the strangest of places, even the most disgusting of places, I find beauty in the grotesque, like most artists. I have to force people to look at things." - Alexander McQueen