Decoding Savage Beauty’s Success

By Jason Cyrus

Met McQueen

This article draws on varied fashion research that speaks to clothing as a medium embedded with personal history, linking this to Alexander McQueen’s ability to code autobiographical details into his collections. Objects in the exhibition shared details of the designer’s life, creating an intimate connection with visitors. Curator Andrew Bolton’s collaborations with key people from McQueen’s camp authentically translated the designer’s aesthetic into a museum setting. These elements combined to produce an emotionally charged, immersive experience that mirrored a public memorial. Contrasting this concept with Maya Lin’s 1982 Vietnam Memorial, Son Van Huynh’s Counter Monument Theory provides a new framework for viewing the exhibition as a counter monument for McQueen. This article argues that Savage Beauty’s enormous success stemmed from its unintended role as counter monument to McQueen and as public memorial for its visitors and collaborators.

Full version to be published in TheSixHundred volume 2


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