Must-visit: The Savage Beauty exhibition in London

If you do anything this spring/summer while in London, go to the Victoria & Albert Museum to see the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition. It is hands down the best (fashion) exhibition I have ever been to. The Savage Beauty exhibition, that runs till August 2nd 2015, celebrates the work and vision of fashion designer McQueen who is famed for his creativity, inovative designs and challenging boundaries of art and fashion. His work, curated by the museum’s senior curator Claire Wilcox, is presented in a series of 10 rooms which showcase the dominant themes and concepts of McQueen’s work.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In the first part of the exhibition, called London, we saw designs from his early collectons of 1995-1996 alongside footage of his catwalk shows. Some of the pieces have not been on display since they were shown on the catwalk. Then we were led into the second room where the focus is Savage Mind. I really loved this room where one can see designs with his signature silhouettes, including that of bumsters trousers and his unique cutting techniques.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In the third room we encountered an interplay between dark and light. This Romantic Gothic themed room also includes pieces from his unfinished collection. I was really blown away by a sinister cave like room with the theme Romantic Primitivism. In this room you get to explore McQueen’s fascination with the animal world and the theme survival. The designs in this room are amazing with dresses made from horn, skin and hair. Wearable, not so much, pure art…without question.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

McQueen’s fascination with his Scottish heritage is visible in the next room where his Romantic Nationalism collections are on dislay.savage beauty

And just when you thought you have seen it all you enter a large space called The Cabinet of Curiosities which is the heart of the exhibition. In a double-height gallery it showcases over 120 designs, from dresses to head pieces and shoes. Screens show footage from his catwalk presentations and dramatic music and sounds of birds draw you into the experience. The room is hard to capture in words or photos, you just have to experience it.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

After this room, it just can’t get any better, but the next space is still impressive as we are treated to a 3D hologram of Kate Moss recreating the spectacular Pepper’s Ghost that was a finale to the 2006 A/W catwalk show The Widows of Culloden. Another favourite space (because I love kimonos) is the Romantic Exoticism room. Here you see designs that draw inspiration from traditional Japanese dress such as the kimono and the floral and patterned fabrics.Next is a light and whimsical area called Romantic Naturalism representing his passion for nature and the beauty and fragility. Throughout the exhibition, you see that he works a lot with feathers, flowers and butterflies.

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The exhibition closes with his last fully released collection, the Pato’s Atlantis (S/S 2010) set within a futuristic narrative.The exhibition is produced in partnership with Swarovski hence also features more than 20 crystal embellished show pieces created by McQueen, like e.g. athe Bird’s Nest Headdress with Swarowski gemstones.

In the exhibition shop you can find beautiful postcards, shawls, books and posters to remember this awe-inspiring experience.

  • For more information visit the website
  • Admission £16, V&A members free, pre-booking advised via website!IMG_0769


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