What London Will Bring to the Alexander McQueen Exhibit

UPDATE 1/23/15
: The V&A has announced that an extra 50,000 tickets will be made available to help meet especially high demand, nearly tripling the initial amount. Additionally, the end date will be extended by two weeks, now set to close August 2, 2015.

It turns out that the upcoming London run of Alexander McQueen’s ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibit will be significantly different from its New York incarnation. With the benefit of showing in the designer’s hometown, where many items that were too delicate to ship to New York are readily available, and where many of his early collaborators reside, the new presentation at the Victoria & Albert museum could potentially outperform the Costume Institute’s record-setting edition.

As envisioned by Claire Wilcox, senior curator of fashion at the V&A, the London show will feature more than 30 previously undisplayed garments that couldn’t make the journey to New York, including a white feathered dress from fall 2009 (The Horn of Plenty) and a red feather dress from fall 2008 (The Girl Who Lived in the Tree). Also new is a room dedicated to McQueen’s rough-and-tumble beginnings, spotlighting his pre-Givenchy inspirations and motivations, as well as the spectacular hologram of a ghostly Kate Moss in a white organza gown that closed his fall 2006 runway, replacing the miniature version shown in New York.

Alexander McQueen fall 2009 & fall 2008

Additionally, the popular Cabinet of Curiosities section will be filled out with more pieces from McQueen collaborators, such as milliner Philip Treacy and jeweler Shaun Leane. Meanwhile, McQueen’s trusted production company Gainsbury & Whiting has been recruited to lend the showcase a look and feel very similar to his dramatic runway extravaganzas.

Before his death by suicide, McQueen attempted to make preparations, positioning his protege Sarah Burton to take over for him at the house. But he surely could not have foreseen the creation of Savage Beauty or its enormous popularity. He did reveal to friends before his passing that one of his wishes was to establish an Alexander McQueen School of Design. Here’s hoping that’s in the pipeline, perhaps a wing of Central Saint Martins, where, true to form, he nicked fabric for his very first fashion shows?

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, March 14 – July 19, 2015

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