Call me a Fashion Philistine, but having been a teenage goth by the time the nineties came around I was totally over my Macabre Period. Hence I didn’t really buy into Sensation-era Damien Hirst and Alexander McQueen at his most gory. What I love about a good exhibition is it has the ability to change your preconceptions and opinion, and Savage Beauty at the V&A did just that. This is a wonderful celebration of McQueen’s work, beautifully curated (apart from one section with skulls that looked a bit like a catacomb I once visited in Palermo). The exhibition also served to reinforce what I’d always admired about McQueen: his Savile Row-with-a-twist tailoring, the brilliant cultural/historical/natural references pulled into his work, the anarchic creativity and most of all, his honesty (McQueen claimed to have sewn his opinion of Prince Charles into the lining of a Royal suit).

Philip Treacy butterfly headdress
Razor Clam dress
Dyed ostrich feather dress


Kate Moss in the 2001 Voss show

And I still believe that Spray Painting with Shalom Harlow is the best catwalk show, ever. The dress from the 1999 performance is on show in the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ room:



One of my favourite sections is the display of McQueen’s tailored jackets:


And the Bumster trousers whose length feels au courant:

‘It’s a good testament for people like myself who come from working-class backgrounds that it can be done, that you can do what you really want to do in life, everything is possible.’
Alexander McQueen

This kind of creative talent deserves to be treasured.

If you can get hold of a ticket, Savage Beauty is absolutely fantastic: on at the V&A until 2 August 2015. If you can’t buy the book, it’s brilliant.

8 thoughts on “Savage Beauty at the V&A

  1. We've purchased our tickets already for June, can hardly wait to see this one! I'm less a fan of the macabre stuff, but there's such joy in some of his work.

  2. Did you take these photos in the exhibition? I've bought a ticket for the end of May and would love to take a few photos, without flash, but I'm expecting to be told "no way"!

  3. I thought this was one of the best fashion exhibitions ever at the V&A. I'd been to a couple of fashion exhibitions there recently and thought they were a bit meh, especially after I'd been to the Isabella blow at Somerset House. Looking at the catwalk shows in the Cabinet of Curiosities, you could almost see that it would have been so difficult to maintain that level of creativity.
    I went with a friend and both here and at the Isabella blow show, we could have worn almost any of the pieces, except perhaps the really outrageous catwalk pieces.

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