Until 2 August 2015
It’s been twenty years since a young Alexander McQueen showed his raw but hugely influential Highland Rape collection and five years since the designer’s untimely death aged just forty. Since then there’s been a Royal Wedding dress, a sensational Met Museum retrospective in New York, two controversial books, news of a play and now, finally, that Met show – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty – has come home to roost in London at the V&A. It’s hard to think of any designer – other than Yves Saint Laurent – who has provoked as much debate, dialogue and pure drama as McQueen and this new show, already the recipient of endless column inches, is a fitting, dazzling tribute to his incredible, no holds barred creativity over fifteen years from those early London shows to the ever-inventive productions that were always the highlight of the show season. The Met show was breath-taking and a touch eerie launched so very soon after McQueen’s death, but so much of its impactful staging has been transferred to the London show – the stunning room-sets and moody lighting (by his long-time collaborator Sam Gainsbury), the clever interpretations such as a full-size dancing hologram of Kate Moss as well as the incredible archive of work that the museum has pulled together. But most of all this show is about jaw-dropping clothes – which are as close to art as fashion ever gets. Intricate feats of construction and decoration, achingly beautiful clothes that were often tinged with something macabre. McQueen’s clothes, just like the man himself, were unique.