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Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Opens Today!

9._Duck_feather_dress_The_Horn_of_Plenty_AW_2009-10._Model_-_Magdalena_Frackowiak_represented_by_dna_model_management_New_York.__Image_-_firstVIEWThe long awaited exhibition « Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty » finally opens its doors today at the V&A Museum in London.

Initially curated and presented by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the exhibition has been edited and – lucky us! – expanded with a new section focussing on the designer’s early London collections, as well as new garments, including a red ballet dress from the AW08 collection, The Girl Who Lived in a Tree, and a white feathered dress from AW09 .

Lee Alexander McQueen, visionary creator, one of the most innovating and talented designers of his generation, once expressed how the V&A collections never failed to inspire him, so it only makes sense that the first major European retrospective of his work is hosted here.

A fantastic display of McQueen’s extraordinary creative force, the exhibition offers a series of ten rooms, each specific to a theme or concept deeply rooted in the designer’s imaginarium. From Victorian Gothic tradition to primal, animal references, we are taken through a journey in a genius’ mind at work. Printed on the walls, quotes from the designer accompany us all along the way.

The exhibition starts with the early London collections, highlighting his incredible tailoring skills and already innovating cutting techniques.  The experience then takes us through all the shades of romanticism, from Romantic Gothic to Romantic Primitivism, Nationalism, Exoticism and Naturalism, enjoying the incredible palette of colours and materials used by the late designer, dominated by animal or animal-inspired elements such as feathers, skin, horn, hair, and nature in general.

Another section, Pepper’s Ghost, uses a 19th century technique to show in an hologram a spectral Kate Moss in THAT wedding dress, to recreate the spectacular finale of the AW06 collection, The Widows of Culloden.

The Cabinet of Curiosities, at the centre of the show, is absolutely breath-taking, with walls filled with all sorts of marvels, accessories and garments, up to the (very high) ceiling.

The last section of the exhibition displays his last fully realised collection, Plato’s Atlantic. Ultimately futuristic, like a dreamy combination between Close Encounters of the Third Kind The Little Mermaid, the collections shows how humanity evolved to live under the sea, with technical, robotic garments but covered in fish scales.

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Lee Alexander McQueen, we salute you, your incommensurable genius and your legacy.

A record number of advance tickets have been sold from as early as last year, and it is fully booked up until beginning of April, so book your tickets early to have a chance to see this jaw-dropping exhibition.

Laurie Guillem