PHOTOSHOOT Magazine was delighted to interview Louise Rytter, Research Assistant at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s latest exhibtion Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty
What is your education/training background?
I have a First Class Honours in Fashion Communication from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, and have worked for Fantastic Man magazine, The Gentlewoman magazine and the Danish Design Centre.
How did you become involved in this exhibition?
After graduating from Central Saint Martins, I was offered the job as assistant curator on the V&A’s exhibition Wedding Dresses 1775-2014. A few weeks before the exhibition opened to the public, the job as research assistant on Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty was advertised. I was lucky to be offered the job and it has been a great privilege to assist senior curator Claire Wilcox on the exhibition and the accompanying publication.
Why did you become involved in this exhibition?
Alexander McQueen was one of the most influential designers of his generation. His radical and fearless visions changed the way we look at fashion. He provoked with his ‘Bumster’ trousers, he astonished with dresses made from glass microscope slides and razor clam shells and he shocked with his powerful and spectacular catwalk shows that involved elaborate storytelling, compelling theatre and raw emotion.
The original version of Savage Beauty took place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2011. It was brilliantly curated by Andrew Bolton and became one of the Met’s top ten most visited exhibitions. Savage Beauty has stood the test of time and it is fitting for the V&A, as the home of fashion, to offer a new audience the opportunity to see the exhibition.
Did you have any links to McQueen and his work before you did this?
I studied fashion at Central Saint Martins and you always look up to your peers, especially McQueen. I am incredibly fascinated by the early 1990s when British fashion really kicked off and especially the creativity in the East End. McQueen’s studio was based there, like the majority of the YBA’s. I live on Columbia Road and my neighbours have been able to connect us with some of the craftsmen who created some of McQueen’s most spectacular pieces, such as the glass cuirass by Columbia Glassworks.
McQueen frequently researched the V&A’s fashion and textile collections. His library was full of books from the V&A and his mood boards frequently had postcards of our 19th century dress on them. It is fair to say he loved and admired the V&A. In fact, he once said, ‘The collections at the V&A never fail to intrigue and inspire me. The nation is privileged to have access to such a resource.’ And, specifically referring to our Cast Courts, he said, ‘It’s the sort of place I’d like to be shut in overnight.’ It is therefore special for the V&A to be staging Savage Beauty and it is something of a homecoming.
Read the full article in our Spring Issue HERE
Behind the scenes images courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum (subject to copyright)