Lee Alexander McQueen by V&A

4520140buImage Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

Lee Alexander McQueen by V&A

This spring the V&A will present the only major retrospective in Europe of the work of the visionary fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen. One of the most innovative designers of his generation, McQueen was celebrated for his extraordinary creative talent. He combined a profound grasp of tailoring and eclectic range of influences with a relentless pursuit to challenge the boundaries of art and fashion, blending the latest technology with traditional craftsmanship.

007Image Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

Originated by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Savage Beauty will be edited and expanded for the V&A’s large exhibition galleries. It will feature 30 additional garments, including some rare early pieces, lent by private individuals and collectors such as Katy England and Annabelle Neilson as well as pieces from the Isabella Blow Collection and the House of Givenchy.

008 Image Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

A new section will be added to the exhibition, focusing on McQueen’s fledgling development as a designer in London. Other new garments that will be displayed include a red ballet dress from The Girl Who Lived in the Tree (A/W 2008-9) and a white feathered dress from The Horn of Plenty (A/W 2009-10). Gainsbury and Whiting, the production company that collaborated with Alexander McQueen in staging his catwalk shows are working with the V&A on the exhibition.

003Image Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

Each section will capture the essence of the provocative, dramatic and extravagant catwalk presentations that McQueen became renowned for, combining storytelling, theatrical performance, music and film.  For example the spectacular moment where Kate Moss appeared in a gown of rippling organza as a holographic 3D image will be shown near life size as it was for the finale of the Widows of Culloden (A/W 2006-7) catwalk show.

005Image Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

Another key moment of the exhibition that has been expanded at the V&A is the Cabinet of Curiosities, which will showcase designs produced by McQueen in collaboration with fellow creatives such as the jeweller Shaun Leane and milliner Philip Treacy. Presented in a double-height gallery, interspersed with film footage of nearly all of McQueen’s catwalk shows, it will display around 40 additional objects that have not previously been seen together.

002Image Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

These include a sequin top over printed with a haunting image of the Russian Romanov children (Joan, A/W 1998-9); an embellished matador’s jacket (The Dance of the Twisted Bull, S/S 2002) and a black horned headpiece designed for Givenchy (S/S 1997). In total, the exhibition will showcase more than 200 ensembles and accessories, the largest number of individual pieces designed by McQueen and collaborators ever seen together.

004Image Courtesy of Lee Alexander McQueen

They range from McQueen’s Central Saint Martins’ postgraduate collection of 1992 to his final designs for A/W 2010, completed after his death, and are drawn primarily from the Alexander McQueen archive in London. The thematic presentation of the exhibition will interrogate ideas and concepts central to McQueen’s work, including: subversive tailoring; Gothic sensibility and the interplay between darkness and light; primitivism and the animal world; heritage and ancestry; nature and the natural world; and technology and handcraft.

more. www.vam.ac.uk

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