Last Friday, I felt like I was holding a golden ticket. It was indeed a sought after piece of paper, although it was an e – ticket rather than a gold incrusted piece of cardboard – something that would have been far more worthy of what it represented.
With the ticket, I was able to see the Alexander Mcqueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the V & A museum, a collection showcasing some of his most momentous masterpieces, including his Central Saint Martin’s graduate creations that were bought by Isabella Blow.
You descend into darkness as soon as you enter through the exhibition doors. The people in front of me in the queue, who just seconds before had been nattering away, stopped mid conversation and looked up in awe.
So it was just possibly (obviously certain) a fraction as dramatic as his shows, but the dark room managed to captivate all.
One of the first things you see is his graduate collection, Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, where human hair had been stitched into the lining of the garments. A voice over plays on repeat from the documentary, Mcqueen and I, where 20 – something year old McQueen says “London’s where I was brought up. It’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration”. It had a powerful poignant effect. Well, for me it did, and was clearly supposed to, as it was also staring back at me on the wall – just incase I had failed to hear the audio.
There are 5 rooms in total, showcasing some of his most notorious pieces, including one of my favourites – his S/S ’07 dress made from fresh flowers. More hauntingly were pieces from his A/W ’10 collection that he was in the process of making before he died. This included a gold feather dress, that I had to stare at for a good few minutes.
My favourite room was the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. On display were over 100 accessories and garments, some unfinished. I overheard one lady describe how “it feels like we are all sitting here in his tomb, buried with all that represents him – his clothes”. The adjectives “amazing” “wow” and “incredible” were also on repeat among the other museum goers, as if nobody could string a full sentence together – lost in the moment and the realisation of just how incredible Alexander McQueen was. He wasn’t just a designer, but an artist.
There were also large screens in each corner of the room playing clips from his most theatrical fashion shows, and showcased in the centre was that dress, from S/S ’99. Pictured below.
Oh and the other (extra) remarkable bit – Kate Moss made an appearance. Casually.
Albeit it was in the form of a hologram, a miniature version of his Widows of Culloden A/W ’06 show. I watched it quite a few times and realised just how much I love the fashion world.