Savage Beauty Breaks Museum Records

All Hail McQueen


After a sell-out 21-week run, the doors have closed permanently on Alexander McQueen’s emotional-laden Savage Beauty exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum.

Opening on his 1992 graduate collection, and taking us on a roller-coaster ride to his final unfinished autumn/winter 2010 collection, the rip his tragic death left in the tapestry of British design feels somewhat repaired by this touching homage.


Some eager ELLE staffers (Gillian Brett, Donna Wallace and Lisa Rahman) made it into the twilight showings at the final weekend. As the doors close for the last time, McQueen adds another layer to his enduring legacy with the impressive figures behind the blockbuster exhibition.

Behold! Savage Beauty by numbers:

Opened on 14 March 2015.

83,910 tickets sold before the doors opened.

The exhibition outstripped any other at the V&A, including David Bowie (67,000 pre-sold tickets) and three times the advance sales of any other at the museum. 

In the end, more than 480,000 tickets sold.

It cost £3 million to stage.

66 original pieces and 240 outfits went on display.

The exhibit included several pairs of McQueen’s iconic Armadillo shoes, which were recently in the spotlight again thanks to a Christie’s auction that sold three pairs (Lady Gaga’s fiancé Taylor Kinney purchased all of the three re-commissioned pairs for a combined $295,000 (just under £189,500). Proceeds from the sale will go to earthquake relief efforts in Nepal).

The show had to be extended until 2 August 2015 with additional around the clock slots available for the final two weekends running from 10pm to 5.30am, for the first time in the Museum's history (the museum even hired a specialist firm to manage the waiting times).

The overnight openings added 15,000 tickets to the overall sales.

At 9am on the 21st July, V&A's Kate Bethune took Periscope users inside the exhibition with a live virtual tour.

Everything was turned off and cleaned for 90 minutes after the overnight openings ended at 5.30am before the museum reopened at 8am. The museum got to rest for an hour and a half every 24 hours.


Images: Getty

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