Alexander McQueen : Savage Beauty

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of a day off work to visit the current Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum.

I didn't know quite what to expect, although I had heard many reports that the exhibition was more than worth a visit.  It's been incredibly hard to get tickets, and even though the V&A have extended the run, the additional dates are almost sold out as well.

To say it was incredible is an understatement.  It was beautiful, thought provoking, awe inspiring and slightly disturbing in parts.  It was the most amazing experience I have ever had at a museum.

When I started writing this post I was hoping to write something beautifully eloquent about the exhibition, McQueen's genius and my feelings about it all... but I can't!  Even a couple of days later I'm finding it hard to put into words how I felt walking round the exhibition space. 

Instead I'll just share with you a few photos (not mine, as cameras - as well as sketching - were forbidden) of some of my favourite pieces/displays and a few quotes and comments made by Alexander McQueen.

Coat from the Dante collection, A/W 1996/97. 


"I want to empower women.  I want people to be afraid of the women I dress." - Alexander McQueen

I can only imagine how empowered you would feel in this leather dress from the A/W 1997/98 Eclect Dissect collection.  Photo courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.



"I wanted to exaggerate a woman's form, almost along the lines of a classical statue." - Alexander McQueen

Photo above shows the exhibition display for the A/W 2006/07 Widows of Culloden collection, below are photos of some of the garments as they appeared on the catwalk.

All photos from

Exhibition display from the A/W 2008/09 collection, The Girl Who Lived in the Tree.


"I want to be the purveyor of a certain silhouette or a way of cutting so that when I am dead and gone people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen." - Alexander McQueen

One of the highlights for me - and almost overwhelming - was the Cabinet of Curiosities section; a huge room lined from floor to ceiling with dresses, shoes, jewellery and video screens playing catwalk shows it was hard to take everything in.  It would have been quite possible to spend the entire day just in this room and still not feel you had taken everything in properly.


The Romantic Gothic gallery featured a stunning display in a gilded case which included the famous Angel dress from the A/W 2010/11 collection, which debuted just a month after McQueen's death in February 2010.


The exhibition closed with a display of the final collection to be completed by McQueen (the A/W 2010/11 not being fully complete before his death) - Plato's Atlantis from S/S 2010.


Photos from

Sometimes it is hard to look behind the dark and almost frightening designs on display - an ensemble made completely of black feathers; a coat made from balled up (fake) hair - and see how they could relate to what we wear or what is available to us on the high street, but looking closer McQueen's designs have influenced us a great deal.  Tartan and lace, exaggerated shouldered jackets, digital "sea creature" prints?  They're all there in McQueen's collections and they're all there for us today. 

Was McQueen a genius?  I certainly think so. 

Unfortunately it looks like tickets for the remainder of the exhibitions run are sold out, otherwise I would be going again.


  1. What a great post! So sorry that I missed getting tickets to this show. It looks amazing. I will have to try getting one of the day tickets if I can.

    1. It was totally amazing Jen! I saw on Twitter earlier that the V&A have released a few more tickets for a few dates in July, for early morning slots - 8am onwards!


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