This week saw the opening of the V&A’s much-lauded exhibition of Alexander McQueen’s life’s work, Savage Beauty, a show which attempts to paint McQueen in all of the forms he appeared throughout his career. The experience is almost overwhelming in its presentation of the designer as a visionary, and I left the press view with lists of adjectives covering every available inch of paper I could reach: perverse, sexual, primitive, distorted, gothic, mourning, melancholy. None of them quite seemed to cover it.
Senior research assistant Kate Bethune worked on the exhibition for around 18 months in the lead up to its opening. “It’s been an absolutely privilege to work on,” she explained to us in a busy corner at the press view yesterday, as the show exhibited in a similar form at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art several years back, there’s a sense that Savage Beauty has now come home. “London was the heart of McQueen’s world,” Kate continued. “He was born here, he was raised in the East End, he attended Central Saint Martins, trained at Savile Row as a tailor and established his fashion label here. It really meant everything to him.”