One of the standout events in the 2015 London social calendar and a key moment in British fashion, last night saw the opening Gala of the much anticipated Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition, which opens to the public from Saturday 14 March and runs until 2 August 2015.
As well as celebrating the exhibition opening, the Gala was held to raise vital funds for the development of the V&A’s fashion collection, as a record of the very best examples of design and as a precious source of inspiration. Guests were encouraged to pledge their support towards a fund named in honour of Lee Alexander McQueen, in tribute to his exceptional talent and contribution to fashion.
The fashion elite, including Sarah Burton, Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, arrived at the Grand Entrance of the V&A and walked the black carpet. Guests included the Fashion Gala Co-Chairs: Kate Moss; Naomi Campbell; François-Henri Pinault and Suzy Menkes OBE. They were joined by co-lead event sponsor Lisa Gregg, Vice President of American Express and exhibition lead sponsor, Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board.
Claire Wilcox, Lead Curator of the exhibition and Andrew Bolton, Consultant Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art were accompanied by influential and prominent guests such David and Victoria Beckham, Salma Hayek Pinault and Colin and Livia Firth, HRH Princess Beatrice, Rupert Friend and Aimee Mullins and Eva Herzigova. Members of Lee McQueen’s family were also in attendance.
Guests gathered at the Grand Entrance for the reception and drank Champagne Lanson White Label NV and cocktails were provided by The Macallan. There was then an opportunity for guests to view the exhibition which in total showcases more than 240 ensembles and accessories, the largest number of individual pieces designed by McQueen and collaborators ever seen together.
Dinner was served in the V&A’s Raphael Gallery, where guests were greeted by waiters in black kilts with MacQueen tartan sock trims, with makeup artistry by M·A·C Cosmetics and hair styled by Bumble and Bumble with Radio to give them a distinctive McQueen look. Food was provided by The Cellar Society and the menu consisted of duck egg with asparagus to start, for the main course they ate wild sea bass with kale and brown shrimp and for pudding, upside down apple tart with whisky caramel sauce. The drinks menu included Champagne Lanson White Label NV, Old Fashioned and Whisky Sour cocktails, Rioja Reserva 2005, Vina Ardanza and Sipsmith and tonic.
Photography by Dave Benett
Princess Beatrice of York
Annabelle Neilson (L) and Kate Moss
Livia Firth (L) and Colin Firth
Salma Hayek (L) and Francois Henri Pinault
Paul Simonon (L) and Jamie Hince
Jacquetta Wheeler, Erin O’Connor
David Beckham, Annabelle Neilson, Naomi Campbell & Jamie Hince
Francois Henri Pinault, David Beckham, Victoria Beckham & Salma Hayek
Speeches were made by V&A Trustee and President of Condé Nast International, Nicholas Coleridge CBE; François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering Group; Lisa Gregg, Vice President of American Express, as well as the first Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes OBE, Naomi Campbell and Annabelle Neilson.
British singer-songwriter and Alexander McQueen collaborator, FKA Twigs performed an exclusive set of three songs, dressed in an Alexander McQueen feather embroidered butterfly print chiffon gown.
Guests then moved into the V&A’s Porter Gallery for the after party which Gainsbury & Whiting had transformed into a club for the evening. Longtime music collaborators of McQueen, Jeffrey Hinton and John Gosling provided the music for the party.
This club was used as a backdrop for a second exclusive and unannounced performance, choreographed by contemporary dancer Michael Clark. The dancers performed amongst guests with a cameo appearance from Kate Moss.
Guests left for the evening with a goody bag which contained the exhibition catalogue and M·A·C Cosmetics presented in an Alexander McQueen and V&A tote bag.
“I have never met anyone like Alexander McQueen. He was a genius, he was innovative, he was a caring friend and I miss him very much.” Naomi Campbell.