Savage Beauty – haunted or enchanted?

Back in March, I decided to take a break from my busy schedule at the time and head up to London to see the highly anticipated Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Victoria Albert Museum. I recall when tickets were first released that my fellow fashion friend and I didn’t hesitate in purchasing them!

We were among the lucky ones because the site crashed for others trying to order their tickets online. Let’s face it, though, as soon as this exhibition was first announced pretty much ALL fashion enthusiasts went all fan girl! It’s no wonder the site crashed in the first place…McQueen left such a strong legacy behind that it was only justice that his work be honoured and celebrated at one of London’s most prestigious museums.

“London’s where I was brought up. It’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration.”
-Alexander McQueen, January 2000

When first entering the exhibition, visitors were greeted by a video montage of the late designer’s head morphed into a skull. Each room created an ambiance of theatrical gothic romanticism captured by the garments’ essence of what “Savage Beauty” is all about: pure, bold, outlandish pieces that despite historical references define 21st century fashion.

Even though I was able to appreciate the stunning craftsmanship and intricate details applied to the garments, I couldn’t decide whether I felt haunted or enchanted by McQueen’s creations. With pointy horn-like shoulder pads, bondage-like leather head masks or real crocodile heads, it wasn’t exactly like stepping into happy rainbow “Care Bear” world… but rather entering a world of romantic exoticism, where musical elements lure the audience into the charm of unfamiliarity from one room to the next. Accompanied by avant-garde installations and performance art runway video footage, this certainly wasn’t like any other fashion exhibition I had ever visited!

If anyone has the opportunity, I would recommend visiting Savage Beauty before it ends on August 2

Sadly, I wasn’t able to take any of my own photos (security guards), but below are some credited Google search images of the exhibition:

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WE ARE THE UP-AND-COMING TALENT

“I do believe that British students are flourishing because England has the best educational system, providing art & design students with the freedom to think, to dream and to do.” Alber Elbaz

From 30 May to 2 June 2015, East London’s Truman Brewery transformed itself into a fashion venue for up-and-coming talent. Founded in 1991, Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) celebrates the creativity of students and graduates from the most prestigious creative arts universities in the UK, specializing in areas such as fashion design, pattern cutting, styling, marketing and communications. This annual event showcases catwalk shows, exhibition stands, workshops and live industry talks, allowing guests to witness the development of a new generation of the next “Alexander McQueens”, and ”Susie Bubbles”.

The first time I ever attended GFW was back in 2013, working as a backstage dresser for my university’s catwalk show. I recall how hectic but exciting it was dressing up models in clothes that were made by the blood, sweat and tears of hardworking third-year students. At that time, I was thinking to myself that this could potentially be me. Where I’m from, fashion graduates don’t really have such a huge platform to endorse themselves and network with industry professionals. Moving to the UK was something I knew would give me tremendous opportunities to learn, grow and interact with fashion in ways I never thought would have been achievable.

Now, flashing forward to GFW 30 May 2015: I was there.

I was there as a guest, student, supporting friend and fashion enthusiast. Sadly, however, I wasn’t there as a catwalk participant. However, I was still going to see my own university’s show! The garments that graced the catwalk were a once-upon-a time vision – a vision that started off as a sketch and design development that ultimately led to the final product.

Despite not being given a catwalk, that didn’t stop me from endorsing myself and further expanding my existing fashion network. During my wandering around the exhibition, I came across some lovely people from one of the event’s sponsors called The Edit.

First launched in February 2015 during London Fashion Week, The Edit is a fashion shopping App that offers a unique and portable “browse-and-buy” experience. This Tinder-like App enables users to “swipe right” if they like what they see and “swipe left” if they don’t. By securely linking the App to PayPal, shoppers are able to enjoy a quick and hassle-free purchase by discovering over 80,000 products by desirable brands including Topshop, River Island, New Look and Adidas. This innovative e-commerce App has recently been voted as one of the top-five fashion Apps, according to Marie Claire. At GFW, The Edit created an interactive stand and also hosted the GFW Street Style Competition, where on each day, visitors of the event were able to have their picture taken and put to vote on The Edit’s Instagram page. In addition to the Style Competition, users were able to vote on the collections of the graduates who make it into ‘The Best of Graduate Fashion Week’ show on the final day of 2 June. Some of my friends are hopefully going to get nominated for that!

Indeed, GFW does provide an excellent platform for fashion graduates and exciting innovative companies! However, let me tell you this my fellow soon-to-be fashion graduates: Just because you weren’t given the opportunity to step into the spotlight at that particular moment, doesn’t mean you aren’t ever going to ultimately prevail! I wasn’t given any press coverage, but still managed to build my own platform myself. At the end of the day, no matter how “big” or “small” you are now, ALL of us in this graduating class of summer 2015 are definitely the up-and-coming talent in the fashion industry of the future.

PS: Tuesday (June 2) is the last day of GFW!! So if you are in the area, please go say hello to my friends at the AUB stand and have your picture taken from The Edit and download their APP! http://www.theeditapp.com/

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C’est moi!  https://instagram.com/geneve_chalonne/

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Catwalk (For more designers see http://www.catwalking.com/archive/seasons/graduates/2015/BA/BOUR )

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https://instagram.com/theeditapp/