Alexander McQueen. A cut above the rest

14 Mar — 2 Aug 2015 at Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom

Alexander McQueen, Mask, Victoria and Albert Museum
Alexander McQueen, Mask, Victoria and Albert Museum

The creative genius of Alexander McQueen is all around me as I walk through one of the most beautiful, breathtaking and emotional exhibition of this type I have ever seen.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is a collaboration between Swarovski and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The crystal house and Alexander McQueen share a rich history, beginning in the 1990s when Nadja Swarovski was introduced to the young Alexander McQueen by Isabella Blow. Swarovski went on to support No 13, McQueen’s Spring/Summer 1999 collection, in which he made use of crystal mesh, a new material developed by Swarovski comprising fluid metal mesh set with thousands of crystals.

This is the first major retrospective of the designer’s work to be presented in Europe and tells the sartorial tale of a visionary designer who changed the face of fashion, setting the scene with iconic work such as his Bumster trousers, the razor shell dress, darkly gothic leather creations to more revolutionary avant-garde and one off creations such as the spray painted dress which was painted by two robot during one of his catwalk show. With tailoring being it's backbone, the historical references , in particular the nineteenth century and an imagination without limitation this is an magnificent show with various inspiring quotes written on the walls: When I'm dead and gone, people will know that the twenty-first century was started by Alexander McQueen or "Fashion is a big bubble, and sometimes I feel like popping it". His voice resonating in various rooms it's a voyage into McQueen's mind.

All rooms take you on a diverse and at times melancholic path with different themes from Romantic Gothic, Nationalism, Naturalism or Primitivism, a double height room called the Cabinet of Curiosity where you can sit and admire many of his collaboration with jewellery designer Shaun Leane and milliner Philip Treacy. As you progress into another area you enter a black space where there is the Kate Moss hologram which was a dramatic and emotional final to the Paris show with the ethereal figure of Moss shown floating inside a giant pyramid, set to the dramatic soundtrack of Shindler's list. This was a method created using the Victorian parlour trick Pepper's Ghost and delivers shivers to my spine and a tear to my eye.