Core: World of McQueen

By Jo Phillips

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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
Fresh from fashion week in Paris, the fashion world turned it’s attention once more towards London, for the opening of the highly anticipated Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A has long been source of inspiration for students, designers and artists from around the world, but is particularly dear to London’s practitioners, and as such provides an apt setting to honour the work of the late designer Lee Alexander McQueen, who said; “The collections at the V&A never fail to intrigued and inspire me. The nation is privileged to have access to such a resource… it’s the sort of place I’d like to be shut in overnight”

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The exhibition, curated by Claire Wilcox, Senior Curator of Fashion, presents a major retrospective of the work of visionary fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen. In partnership with Swarovski, American Express, MAC and Samsung, Savage Beauty at the V&A has been adapted and expanded from an earlier show at Metropolitan Museum in New York. The exhibition was worked on with the V&A by Gainsbury and Whitling, the production company who collaborated with McQueen on staging his spectacular catwalk shows. The exhibition combines installation, film, music in an attempt to capture the essence of McQueen’s provocative and dramatic presentations. In total, the exhibition includes more than 240 ensembles and accessories, the largest number of pieces designed by McQueen ever seen, including his Central Saint Martins MA collection from 1992.

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McQueen was one of the most talented designers of his generation, alongside contemporary and fellow St Martins graduate John Galliano, and is celebrated today for his legendary work. The McQueen label continues today under the custody of designer Sarah Burton. Burton said of the exhibition “Savage Beauty is a celebration of the most imaginative and talented designer of our time. Lee was a genius and a true visionary who pushed boundaries, challenged and inspired. He believed creativity and innovation and his talent was limitless.”

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The focus on McQueen continues with the release of Inferno: Alexander McQueen, by Kent Baker published this month by Laurence King. The book is a rare behind the scenes snapshot of McQueens infamous 1996 Dante show and features previously unseen backstage photographs alongside interviews with those who were closest to McQueen at the time. It is particularly fascinating to have this glimpse of the closed set world of fashion from a time before Instagram filters and live tweets.  With contributions from Suzy Menkes, stylist Katy England and McQueens partner at the time Andrew Groves, Inferno recalls the show that came to define McQueen as a revolutionary designer and gives a snapshot of a true fashion moment which is still relevant almost 10 years later. infer uploadInferno Alexander McQueen_Spread_08 Inferno Alexander McQueen_Spread_07

Carrying on the theme, The Tate Britain’s exhibition Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen – Work In Progress, presents the result of the collaboration between the photographer and designer and is a rare behind the scenes insight.

Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen – Work in Progress runs at the Tate Britain from now till 17th May.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty runs from now until 2nd August is accompanied by the book Alexander McQueen Edited by Claire Wilcox. Pre-sale tickets to the exhibition are sold out, however the V&A will release 200 tickets a day for sale on the door.

Inferno: Alexander McQueen is available to buy now from Laurence King.