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2011 Costume Institute Gala and Exhibit Themed "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty"

The 2011 Costume Institute Gala and Exhibit to Focus on Alexander McQueen

>> Next year's Costume Institute Gala — on May 2, 2011 — has its theme: "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty." Anna Wintour, Stella McCartney, and Colin Firth are set to co-chair the event, with Francois-Henri Pinault and Salma Hayek as honorary chairs.

The accompanying exhibit will run at the museum May 4-July 31, 2011, and will cover McQueen's work from his Central Saint Martins postgraduate collection in 1992 to his final runway presentation, which took place weeks after his death in February 2010. A hundred pieces from his 19-year career will be on view, drawn from the McQueen London archives, the Givenchy archive in Paris, and private collections, including Isabella Blow's wardrobe, which Daphne Guinness owns in its entirety.

Curator Andrew Bolton, who is spearheading the project, stressed that he doesn't want the exhibit to feel like a retrospective, so the focus is thematic rather than chronological, reflecting McQueen's fascination with the 19th-century Romantic movement. Among the themed galleries planned: “The Savage Mind,” “Romantic Gothic,” “Romantic Nationalism,” “Romantic Exoticism,” and “Romantic Primitivism.” There will also be a “Cabinet of Curiosities” gallery featuring McQueen's collaborations with Philip Treacy and Shaun Leane, and a separate screening room to display videos of McQueen's theatrical runway presentations.

Sam Gainsbury and Joseph Bennett, who helped produce those dramatic shows, are serving as creative consultants to the exhibit, and the Alexander McQueen company is underwriting the whole thing with support from American Express and Conde Nast. “We felt it would be a great opportunity to show Lee’s work and his incredible contribution to the world of fashion and art,” Jonathan Akeroyd, president and CEO of Alexander McQueen, told WWD. “It felt like the right thing to do. Lee loved the museum. It will give us a great opportunity to show Lee’s work and the Alexander McQueen brand to a much broader community. It’s the greatest tribute and important for his legacy, but it’s also an exciting new chapter in the history of the brand.”


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