Saw Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and still amazed

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Taking into consideration the economical situation of Greece, as well as the difficulties people face nowadays, it may seem crazy feeling like you really need to visit London in order not to miss Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, the first and largest retrospective of McQueen’s work to be presented in Europe. But for me it meant a lot more than an exhibition about fashion. It was a lesson in the history of fashion, an art exhibition and a unique chance to admire Alexander McQueen’s work.

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The exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty opened its doors last March and closed them two days ago. In between, nearly half a million people have been to Victoria and Albert Museum to see the work of the British designer.

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I traveled to London on the 14th of May and the following day I visited this exhibition. Ιt was the best thing I’ve ever done. According to the sections of the exhibition, it was divided in several rooms. In every room you could hear a melody, perfectly fitting the exhibits and different in each one of the rooms. Walking in there, I was overwhelmed with feelings. Madness, fear, stress, aversion were some of them. What I still remember is that in almost all of the rooms I could feel the cold air coming out of the floor.

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While I was walking in the rooms, I started feeling that I was inside the head of Alexander McQueen. This feeling reached its high point in a particular room which looked like a “box”.

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 As I said, its room had a unity and the exhibits were placed in a distance from one another. Though, the “box” was different. This room had far too many exhibits placed one next to the other. They were everywhere in the walls. In the center of the room there was the unique white dress Shalom Harlow wore in the Spring/Summer 1999 fashion show, which was spray-painted in the finale of the show by two robots.
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While entering the room, there was wonderment. Insanity too. I didn’t know where to look or what to think of. It was like I was exposed to all of Alexander McQueen’s collections at the same time, and I couldn’t concentrate on just one of them.

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Following the “box”, there was the hologram of Kate Moss, which first appeared in Alexander McQueen’s 2006 ‘Widows of Culloden’ show in Paris. Ghostly, dramatic, ethereal.

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Suddenly the scene changed. The walls were bright, and there was plenty of light. Following many dark-walled, under-lighted rooms, it looked like spring has come. Ιt was proven later that my sense was right, as this room was dedicated to the Spring/Summer 2006 collection, inspired by nature and probably one of the most romantic fashion shows McQueen has ever presented.

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The scenery remained bright in the next room too, where there was the collection for Spring/Summer 2010, dedicated to the earth and having transformed women into sea creature aliens. This was the last fashion show presented while Alexander McQueen was alive.

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Around one and a half hour later I left the Victoria and Albert Museum full of images, feelings and admiration. McQueen committed suicide, but the world of fashion will never stop loving him or paying tribute to his work. Alexander McQueen was an artist, who just happened to choose fabrics and scissors to express himself. Fear, violence, exaggeration, fantasy, talent and madness are everywhere in his collections. Each one of the exhibits had a reason for being there. He didn’t choose mainstream clothes and accessories. He chose to work on hard, aggressive pieces which could hide all the weaknesses of women, while they could provoke the fear of others.

All the photographs are courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum.

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