Demolish the Rules, Keep the Tradition

Clare Edwards Personal Styling

Monday nights for me usually involve the sofa, some comfort food and catching up with the goings-on of a certain Chelsea set so imagine my mild panic when I received an invitation to actually go somewhere on this most lazy of school nights. This was a rather special invitation though so I put my fears about being tired for the rest of the week aside and I accepted. To be honest, acceptance was never in doubt given the occasion; a private viewing of Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A Museum. And it was incredible. Weird and dark and sometimes disturbing but incredible. I'm going to tell you nothing of the actual pieces featured or the specifics of the display as you must, must, must go see for yourself.

The production is a total assault on the senses from the music to the imagery to the clothes. So much so it actually felt like Alexander McQueen himself was there, that he might come walking around the corner at any moment. He was driven by a desire to "demolish the rules but keep the tradition" and this was evident in every single thing he did. One cannot deny that sometimes his thoughts were rooted in a very dark place and we may not comprehend the reasoning behind his vision but you cannot question his passion and commitment. McQueen's pieces have a breathless beauty about them mixed with historical, tribal, natural and cultural references. Every single item was designed for a reason, to showcase an emotion or feeling.

For me it is exactly what haute couture should be about. Mesmerising pieces of art being showcased by the body which are an expression of drama, love, fear, hate, envy, rage, desire - just like a painting. Haute couture shouldn't be about clothes you would wear in every day life, it should be about pieces that stop people in their tracks and evoke emotion - just like a painting. Whether you like it or loathe it, each couture piece should make you feel something. There is no doubt that this exhibition will make you feel something.

I think when an artist of McQueen's magnitude dies young it is because they squeezed so much out of life there was simply nothing left. No one wore their heart on their sleeve like Alexander McQueen through his designs. For many artists, full appreciation of their genius comes after they have gone and I think McQueen will live on forever in his art.

I can't wait to go and see the exhibition again and I may even do so on a school night. Staying in on a Monday? That's so last week darlings.....