First look inside Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition

Preview exclusively the highly-anticipated exhibition opening this weekend at London's V&A museum

"There is no way back for me now. I'm going to take you on journeys you've never dreamed were possible" is the poignant quote inscribed on the wall as you exit Savage Beauty, the world of Alexander McQueen recreated at the V&A.

The exhibition which opens this weekend is a retrospective of the work of the visionary British designer.

Originally staged in New York at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Savage Beauty at the V&A, is bigger - occupying a third more space and with 66 additional garments not previously exhibted.

Spread across 10 rooms, each exploring key concepts within McQueen's body of work, including early pieces from his MA graduate collection through to designs from the final autumn/winter 2010 unfinished collection and his time at Givenchy.

The exhibition opens somewhat appropriately given the feeling of homecoming that surrounds the exhibition, with a focus on London, where the words of McQueen himself greet visitors set against a backdrop of footage from his early catwalk shows.

 

Savage Mind is the next section which focuses on McQueen's expertise and innovation in tailoring and include the iconic 'Bumster' trousers.

The cabinet of curiosities is the centrepiece of the exhibition, a gallery displaying 120 garments and accessories including collaborations with Phillip Treacy and Shaun Leane such as the iconic red butterfly headpiece from spring/summer 2008 and the spine corset from spring/summer 1998.

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Installation view of the Cabinet of Curiosities gallery

At the heart of this room is the robot paint spray dress, slowly rotating as it did on the catwalk in the spring/summer 1999 when worn by Shalom Harlow.

Perhaps one of the most eagerly anticipated parts of the exhibition is Pepper's Ghost, an apparition of Kate Moss in hologram form from The Widows of Culloden autumn/winter 2006 show.

The mirrored box from the spring/summer 2001 Voss show is incorporated in the exhibition, beginning as it did in the show, as a reflective mirror before lighting up to reveal designs inside from the show.

The finale is a display of looks from Plato's Atlantis, the last full show McQueen staged before his death in 2010.

With the V&A announcing earlier last month record breaking sales, with 30,000 advance tickets already sold, it is undoubtedly the hottest ticket in town.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty 14 March – 2 August 2015, vam.ac.uk

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