Last week, the fashion press was full of praise for the V&A’s new blockbuster retrospective of Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty. Quietly opening at the same time, at The Proud Gallery on London’s Kings road, was a small but fascinating show of photographs by Gary Wallis documenting backstage activity at McQueen’s early shows*.
The pair met at Central Saint Martin’s and Wallis covered McQueen’s 1992 MA Graduate Collection: Jack the Ripper stalks his Victims. The photographs cover the period leading to McQueen’s breakthrough collection, Highland Rape (AW 1995) and Dante (AW 1996), after which he was recruited to design for Givenchy.
They have an intimate feel, suggesting an atmosphere of creativity and fun in between lulls and frenetic activity – a contrast to the macabre presentations on the catwalk. McQueen looks young, feisty but above all, as if he’s enjoying himself.
It’s a wonderful complement to the V&A’s Savage Beauty. See it before 5 April in the gallery or on the Proud Gallery website.
*Nihilism SS94; Banshee AW94; The Birds SS95; Highland Rape AW95; The Hunger SS96; and Dante AW96