Home / Celebrity Style / Alexander McQueen: The designer who startled us into a new silhouette

Alexander McQueen: The designer who startled us into a new silhouette

There is one place fashion fans are guaranteed to flock to in London this year – and it isn’t Barry’s Bootcamp. The real hot ticket is the Victoria and Albert museum’s Alexander McQueen retrospective, Savage Beauty. From provocative early catwalk shows The Hunger and Highland Rape to the late designer’s last fully realised collection, Plato’s Atlantis, the exhibition will feature almost two decades of his work. Plato’s Atlantis, curator Claire Wilcox says, “was incredibly complex”. It also featured the Armadillo boots that revolutionised footwear. “Very few designers have managed to startle us into an entirely new silhouette,” she curator Claire Wilcox says. “You think of Dior, you think of Balenciaga, you think of McQueen.”

Portrait of Alexander McQueen, 1997

The show was first staged at New York’s Metropolitan Museum in 2011: and will stick quite closely to its template. “I saw Savage Beauty at the Met and I was absolutely moved,” Wilcox says. “It was the best exhibition on fashion I had ever seen.” One tweak will be a London-focused “prelude” emphasising McQueen’s early work and links with the capital. “He grew up in the East End, was inspired by 19th-century London and was a great London museum-goer – I showed him pieces from our archive many times,” she says. “There seems to be a bit of a sense that McQueen has come home.”

Savage Beauty is at the VA from 14 March

Bird’s Nest headdress with Swarovski gemstones, by Philip Treacy and Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen.

About Fashion Brief