I meant to post this last week, but then this week happened and suddenly last week was gone and here we are, to mix time and other stuff. Since taking up walking I am spending so much time outdoors I get much less time to sit in front of a screen, which is probably good, but feels a bit alien.

Today I get to sit in front of a screen and catch up on reading and other sedentary pursuits, because Oscar has managed to get a magnificent rash. It is not as magnificent as it was yesterday when it was, it is fair to say, all encompassing, but he is still blotchy enough for me to not risk sending him to school.

We did think it might be scarlet fever, but he is too well for that, despite the fact that it is doing the rounds. As it is now fading I suspect that he may have developed an allergy to something interesting that he brushed up against yesterday, although what it might be is anyone’s guess.

Tilly thinks it might have been a badger. I suspect this is wish fulfilment on her part.

Anyway, now I’m here and I can tell you about my wonderful day last week.

My friends Caron and Gina and I snuck away to London for a whole, entire day to go and see the long anticipated Alexander McQueen Retrospective (A Savage Beauty) at the V&A.  We followed this with afternoon tea at the Covent Garden Hotel on Monmouth Street, complete with glasses of fizz and decadence, and ended it with some light shopping.


On the morning of our trip I got cold feet. I had been looking forward to seeing the McQueen exhibition for so long I wondered if it might not quite live up to the hype of my own head.

I needn’t have worried. It was absolutely stunning. I loved every moment of it, and we spent about two hours in there. It was a pretty flawless thing in all respects. The outfits were perfectly chosen, beautifully curated and terrific in every detail.  I came out with my head reeling. I could easily go back half a dozen more times and still find things to entrance me.

I have been thinking all week about how I would describe the experience, but honestly it is almost impossible to put into words, and no pictures do it justice. You really do have to go and immerse yourself in it.

I’ve always been a fan of McQueen,  ever since I got interested in fashion I can’t afford. I love his eye for detail, his impeccable tailoring, his fearlessness with materials and his vision, that turns things from clothes into narratives.  I love the fact that I can be surprised by the fact that he can make things beautiful, even when they are troubling or jarring. A Savage Beauty is the perfect title for the exhibition.  Even the things I didn’t want to wear were amazing, and exquisite and incredible pieces.

I’ve tried to think what my favourite pieces were, and it’s pretty hopeless. The range of things he produced in such a short time is literally dazzling, and each thing is so different from anything else you just want it all.  I think though, the most impressive pieces of all are the room of what look like simple, black, jackets in the first room you walk through.  The cut is flawless, the stylings are amazing and the detail is insane. Human hair woven into lining fabric, tiny rows of buttons, curved seams instead of straight, figured fabric juxtaposed with plain fabric that looks the same until you really, truly look at it. It was glorious. I wanted all of them.

And then there’s the fact that no matter how outlandish the outfits were, and some of them were pretty bonkers, they all flattered the female form. They all looked like they were supposed to be worn by women, and worn well.

And the fact that the accessories were so much part of the finished look, the amazing Philip Treacey hats, the stunning jewellery and sculpture pieces, the dress that was actually a carved fan, the armour, the shoes, all of it.

I loved it all.

4 responses to “McQueen

  1. My daughter went to this and felt the same way…I’ve looked through the book and it looks so beautiful….if it’s on till August I might still try to get there…..are you still on for Friday? x

  2. Oh yes indeed. Am definitely still on for Friday. What time are you planning on being here my lovely? xx

  3. The exhibition is fabulous, isn’t it? I went in Monday and intend going back a couple of times (these are the kinds of things that make a V&A membership so worth it). I was also very taken with how wearable things were even when outlandish. Beautiful!

  4. It is amazing. I am definitely going again.

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