Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, first look at the exhibition

This morning I was honoured to attend the Press Presentation of the upcoming exhibition of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, an exhibition taking place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City from 4th May – 31st July 2011.  The presentation took place over breakfast at The Ritz in London, and began with an introduction from Samantha Cameron. We were then taken on a lovely verbal tour of the exhibition by Thomas Campbell, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Andrew Bolton, Curator of the exhibition from The Costume Institute. Bolton explained how fitting The Ritz was as the location for this event as Alexander McQueen’s first post-graduate collection was shown in the same spot. He then shared stories of Isabella Blow running up and down the halls of the Ritz inviting people to come in and view the display by an artist that would change the world of fashion as we know it. Bolton spoke so lovingly of McQueen, his amazing talent, tender heart and the legacy he has left behind.

“Alexander McQueen was best known for his astonishing and extravagant runway presentations, which were given dramatic scenarios and narrative structures that suggested avant-garde installation and performance art,” said Bolton. “His fashions were an outlet for his emotions, an expression of the deepest, often darkest,  aspects of his imagination. He was a true romantic in the Byronic sense of the word he channeled the sublime.”

McQueen’s creations stood proudly on stage as the kings and queens of fashions were given details of what is sure to be THE exhibition of the year, if not the decade.  Anna Wintour, Hilary Alexander, Suzy Menkes and many more sat front row for the presentation.  They sat beside Sarah Burton, who was thanked over and over again for helping with this magnificent display.  Also front and centre was Stella McCartney, who is a co-chair for the Gala event with Anna Wintour, Colin Firth, Salma Hayek and Francois Henri-Pinault.

One hundred examples of Alexander McQueen’s pieces will occupy the Cantor Galleries, on the second floor of the Metropolitan Museum, for the exhibition.  The selection of garments will span McQueen’s 19 year career, drawing primarily from the Alexander McQueen archive in London but also featuring pieces from the Givenchy archive in Paris, as well as pieces from private collections. The main focus of the exhibition, however, will be on five “landmark collections” which include: Dante (autumn/winter 1996-97), Number 13 (spring/summer 1999), VOSS (spring/summer 2001), Irere (spring/summer 2003), and Plato’s Atlantis (spring/summer 2010).  There will also be a “Cabinet of Curiosities” which explores the accessories which have come about from collaborations between Alexander McQueen and great minds such as the milliner Philip Treacy and jeweler Shaun Leane.

For those wishing to commemorate their visit their visit to the exhibition, or for those unable to attend but interested in learning more, there will be a beautiful glossy book accompanying the exhibition. The highlight will undoubtedly be a special interview by Tim Blanks with Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen’s current creative director. 

I am very pleased to be able to give you a sneak peek at the exhibition herewith, thanks to the fabulous photographer, Sølve Sundsbøand, and courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art….


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