The V&A’s current blockbuster exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’ closes with Alexander Mc Queen’s own words; I’m going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible” which summarises what this exhibition has managed to achieve nicely. It is a lesson in how to take the museum visitor on a journey (when you’ve got a budget!) and immerse them in a world from Savage Beauty through to every form of Romantic (Gothic, Primitive, Nationalistic, Exotic and Natural), with a ‘Cabinet of fashion Curiosities’ and the designers vivid interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis thrown in for good measure. Each room not only showcases different collections but captures an entire mood; red, black, leather and lace from collections with evocative titles like ‘Nihilism’ and ‘Highland Rape’ immerse the visitor in Savage Beauty, a corridor of skulls and bones leads the visitor into a tribal space inhabited by mannequins with perspex tusks dressed in horse-hair and pony-skin with real crocodile heads used as shoulder pads, and expertly showcases a collection titled ‘It’s a Jungle Out There’, whilst futuristic silver horned mannequins on a white tile floor adorned with digitally created graphic prints and blaring techno music pay homage to Mc Queens last fully realised collection ‘Plato’s Atlantis’. The almost overwhelming double-height ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ focusses on the designers one-off pieces and with so many elaborate creations displayed side-by-side it is difficult for the visitor to know where to begin let alone maintain attention on one item without your eyes wondering. Clever use of Mc Queens own words to describe his collections and mirrors allowing visitors to view his expert tailoring from every angle make it a poignant tribute of one the UK’S most visionary and rebellious talents – and I’d highly recommend a visit!
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