A campaign appealing to the curators of New York's runaway "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" exhibition to bring the show to British shores seemed closer to success yesterday after the design house revealed it was in talks with major venues in London.

The exhibition, which opened in May at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and had its run extended by a week before closing in mid-August, was one of the institution's most popular shows, attracting more than half a million visitors. It told the story of the British designer's life through his catwalk collections and the clothing archives of his nearest and dearest, in a celebration of a career cut short by his suicide in February 2010.

"Alexander McQueen appreciates the huge amount of interest the public has shown towards the Savage Beauty exhibition," read a statement issued by the design house. "We have been in discussion with a number of major venues in London for some time now, however nothing has been finalised."

An online petition, which has attracted nearly 2,000 names, was started by Melanie Rickey, fashion editor at large at Grazia magazine.

Rickey believes McQueen's British fans should be able to see the retrospective on the designer's home turf.

"This isn't just my petition. I'm starting it on behalf of everyone who wants to see the exhibition in its home town," she said earlier this month. "McQueen was from London and his designs were inspired by it, and I think the exhibition should be seen in situ. I'm talking to lots of people who believe we could make it more relevant here."

McQueen, 40, who was known for his energetic and extravagant catwalks shows both under his own name and for the house of Givenchy, grew up in the East End and was educated at London's Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design. Savage Beauty features some of his most famous creations, such as his "bumster" jeans and ballgowns made from freshly cut flowers.

The exhibition has been a critical success. A review in The New York Times called it "a marvel", while The Independent hailed its "perfect balance of clothes ... to provoke the sort of contemplative response usually deemed beyond mere 'fashion'."