In the 12 years since the death of fashion visionary Alexander McQueen, who is lauded for his conceptual and technical virtuosity, the fashion world continues to celebrate his boundary-pushing designs. This year, the National Gallery of Victoria will play host to the first major Australian exhibition to explore the work of Alexander McQueen, highlighting his critically-acclaimed collections that were well ahead of the times.

Titled Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, the exclusive exhibition will showcase 60 garments and accessories that reference important works by McQueen, alongside more than 70 historical artworks including paintings, sculptures, photography, decorative arts and works on paper. This juxtaposition of McQueen’s garments and artworks highlights the creative process of the late designer and his penchant for storytelling.

Above all, it really just offers audiences an intimate opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation for his artistic legacy.

The Australian-exclusive exhibition, organised by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), in partnership with the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), is set to be a rich and comprehensive visual experience for fashion lovers. 

Alexander McQueen is beloved for his highly conceptual designs that set him apart from his contemporaries. With meticulous craftmanship and an intellectual rigour seldom seen on the runways before or since, he created a new vocabulary for fashion design that still resonates today,” says Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV. 

“Comprising more than 110 garments, this showstopping exhibition unites the collections of LACMA and the NGV for the very first time, and celebrates the timeless work of one of the true icons of late twentieth-century fashion.”

Alexander McQueen
Credit: Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

The exhibition will explore McQueen’s oeuvre across four themes – Mythos, Fashioned Narratives, Evolution and Existence, and Technical Innovation – and who he was as a designer and as a person, offering an unprecedented insight into the mind of the late luminary designer.

McQueen’s most acclaimed collections will be on display, including the controversial Highland Rape (autumn-winter 1995–1996) and emotional The Widows of Culloden (autumn-winter 2006–2007) collections.

Beginning his fashion career as a tailoring apprentice on Savile Row, McQueen honed an immaculate skillset for tailoring technicality. At 20, he moved to Milan, to work with designer Romeo Gigli, before returning to London to undertake a degree in Fashion Design at the famed Central Saint Martins College in London. Rising the ranks of the fashion world to become one of the youngest and most formidable designers, he tragically died at the height of his career, aged 40.

His last complete collection, Plato’s Atlantis, was presented at Paris Fashion Week in 2009.

‘Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse’ will be on display from 11 December 2022 – 16 April 2023 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.  Tickets available here.