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Magical McQueen - Savage Beauty at the V&A

 “I find beauty in the grotesque, like most artists. I have to force people to look at things.” 
Alexander McQueen

"The first and largest retrospective of the late designer's work to be presented in Europe, Alexander McQueen: Savage beauty showcases McQueen's visionary body of work. Spanning his 1992 MA graduate collection to his unfinished AW 2010 collection, McQueen's designs are presented with the dramatic staging and sense of spectacle synonymous with his runway show."
As soon as i found out this exhibition was coming to London, I immediately booked, and glad I did as tickets sold out quickly. Waiting in line for my time slot to enter the exhibit I was very surprised by the mix of people in the queue, not just the anticipated fashionistas but a lot of multi-generation groups and a surprising number older women along with several disgruntled looking husbands who were just there to hold the designer handbags! 

Spread out over multiple rooms, (so much to see!) with each showcasing an era or collection of his work, all with a distinct theme - from Gothic romance to futuristic and oriental to nature, each room really gave a sense of what the collection was about and what it was inspired by. I recognised some pieces immediately from the catwalk or from the celebrity who wore it - the tartan dress worn by Sarah Jessica Parker to the 2006 Met ball, was beautiful although actually very simple compared to a lot of the exhibit. The weirdest room for me was created around the Eshu Autumn/Winter 2000 collection and was very Game of Thrones with a lot of wool and horse hair and all the outfits finished off with a bizarre latex headpiece with a horn.

Due to no photography allowed in the exhibition (even if I had wanted to try and take a cheeky few it was far too busy to get any decent shots) so all the shots used in this post have been taken from Just a few to set the scene of the exhibition but I do recommend going to see it in person, the photos do not do it justice. 

The girl who lived in the tree Autumn/Winter 2008
The Oriental room
The best room at the exhibit

My favourite room of the exhibition was the multi media room, a collection of outfits, accessories and video clips. A room so full it was almost overwhelming but so inspirational and mind blowing. I spent a long time sat on the seat in the middle if the room taking it all in. With video clips depicting his experimental catwalk moments, surrounded by a treasure chest of fetishistic apparel, accessories and shoes, from the iconic Armadillo heels to bejeweled bodices and silver thorn headpieces
, more like pieces of art than fashion -even more impressive in person than in show clips.

The widows of Cullodeon Autumn/Winter 2006
The mirrored cube
Plato's Atlantis Spring/Summer 2010
My favourite collection
Plato's Atlantis has always been my favourite collection and i was so pleased to see it used in this retrospective. I remember seeing the intricate bug like prints used and the amazing "armadillo" shoes and thinking WOW. I had heard of McQueen before but I didn't consider him a favourite designer if mine until I saw this collection in the catwalk reviews. 
The futuristic mannequins added a bizarre final touch to the presentation of these intricate outfits. This was also the last room of the exhibit and for me ended the whole visit on a high.

After what seemed like hours i stumbled into the gift shop and was blown away by the merchandise available to purchase - from the exhibition book (which i did purchase and lugged round London, not my best idea ever!) to silk scarves featuring iconic McQueen prints. Something for everyone to remember this inspirational designer and his breathtaking work.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is at the V&A until 2nd August. Tickets are £16 from the V&A or £17.50 online. Go buy one now!

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