Art News

ALEXANDER MC QUEEN @ VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON.

If you don't want miss the most important retrospective of the most innovative designers of our time, you have to book soon a flight to London. The Victoria and Albert museum hosts, until the 19th of July, Savage Beauty by Alexander Mc Queen (1969-2010).

The exhibition displays Mc Queen's exceptionally beautiful clothes; they are as close to being works of art as fashion item ever comes. But many are exceptionally disturbing too: suggestive and cruel. A few are actively repulsive. The exhibition runs through the museum's rooms categorized by visual themes like exoticism, nature, Victorian gothic, and tells two stories side by side: that of McQueen’s career, and of what it was like to go to a McQueen catwalk show.

McQueen’s life story begins in London. The first room is sheathed in huge concrete blocks that recall the Gatliff Road warehouse where his first shows were staged; the second, all grey walls and skylights, resembles the dingy Hoxton studio of his early days. 

The rooms become grander and more sumptuous as the show tracks McQueen’s rise, designing Givenchy haute couture and showing him at Paris fashion week. 

The heart of this show are two rooms in the middle, the Cabinet of Curiosities and Pepper’s Ghost. The Cabinet of Curiosities is a double-height room divided into a multitude of box frames for individual showpieces. At the centre of the room, the Spray Paint Dress in which Shalom Harlow was decorated/defaced by robots at the finale of a show rotates on a mannequin, like a tiny ballerina in a child’s jewelers box. Pepper’s Ghost recreates the finale to the Widows of Culloden collection. It is an illusion, in which a fairy-sized vision of Kate Moss is conjured up out of thin air by a Victorian technique using projectors and mirrors, which at the time tricked viewers into believing they were seeing ghosts. It is especially poignant now, as a reminder of the other character who is here but not here: that of McQueen himself.

 

NEW LAST CALL: Still haven't found the time to see Alexander McQueen's “Savage Beauty" exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum? Fear not: the popular London museum has announced that it will remain open all night during the exhibition's two final weekends.

The museum has also released a further 12,000 tickets, as all the pre-bookable tickets have sold out.

 Savage Beauty is the best-dressed haunted house you will ever visit.

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